Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: The Red Queen’s Run by Bourne Morris

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

Red Queen's Run coverFaculty meetings can be contentious at times, but associate dean Meredith “Red” Solaris has noticed that their meetings lately have been downright hostile. She’s afraid that one day there will be bloodshed, and she has no idea how her friend, Henry Brooks, dean of the journalism school, handles it all without going crazy.

Unfortunately, she’s about to find out, because three days after their last meeting, Henry is found dead on the stairwell at the school. Red believes the murderer is one of three people: Simon, who used to be the dean, but now, he is a bitter man who is fighting the changes that are happening to the curriculum and to his beloved school; George, a pompous egotistical bully who wants to deny the tenure of an associate professor, and also supports Simon’s views on the changes; and Edwin, the third senior member (along with Simon and George) who is aggressively fighting with Henry about anything and everything.

Red is named interim dean, much to the chagrin of the three men. After Detective Joe Morgan tells her Henry didn’t die of natural causes, Red starts to take a closer look at all of her co-workers. She learns that Henry wasn’t as quiet and shy as she thought, either: it seems he was having an affair with a faculty member’s wife. Did the affair get him killed?

In between dealing with the everyday pressures at work, Red and Joe start dating, and they share any information they learn along the way. But everyone Red suspects seem to have an alibi. As she digs through Henry’s files about the other professors, she discovers one of the faculty has been accused of plagiarism, but she cannot find the name of the person in Henry’s notes. Was there a confrontation that turned fatal?

Red starts to receive threatening notes, telling her to quit her job or suffer the consequences. And the deeper the investigation goes, the more dangerous it gets for Red. With the killer closing in, will she be able to figure out the truth before it’s too late?

This is an excellent book by Ms. Morris. As a former teacher, I could relate to the contentious meetings and backstabbing that was going on behind closed doors at the university. She gives the reader an exciting mix of intrigue, mystery and romance for a man-wary Red, and conveys her conflicted feelings about suspecting someone Red knows as being a possible murderer with the right mix of anger and sadness. I did figure out who did it, but the downward spiral she sends the characters through is just heart stopping and gut wrenching. I thoroughly enjoyed The Red Queen’s Run, and I am eagerly looking forward to the next book in this series!

Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: Shadow of Doubt by Nancy Cole Silverman

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

SHADOW OF DOUBT cover 1Pepper Millhouse is an agent to the stars, and they adore her because of how hard she works for them. Her latest star, Amber Marx, has just won a major award, and seems poised for a breakout year.

But there are people in the industry who don’t appreciate the way Pepper operates.  A couple of hours after the awards show, Pepper dies under mysterious circumstances in her hot tub…alone.

Carol Childs is a rookie reporter for KCHC, a divorcee with a teenage son, Charlie, and she has started a new relationship with a smoking hot FBI agent, Eric Langdon. She’s working hard at the station to prove she can be a good reporter. And she thinks she’s finally got her big break when her neighbor, Samantha Millhouse, bangs on her door early in the morning and breaks the news that her aunt, Pepper, is dead.

Sam’s relationship with her aunt wasn’t a good one, and Sam has made her feelings about her aunt crystal clear to anyone who will listen. Pepper managed to alienate almost everyone who knew her, including Sam’s twin sister, Sarah. In fact, the suspect list is so long, it seems unlikely the police will ever be able to solve her murder.

Kari, one of Carol’s co-workers, speculates on the air that perhaps someone is trying to kill off the top people at Pepper’s agency in a power play to take over. Two other agents died under mysterious circumstances just weeks before Pepper’s death. Kari seems to point the finger at Sam, and when the will reveals that Pepper left the agency to Sam, her sister makes it clear that she believes Sam is a murderer.

Carol doesn’t believe it, but her boss, Tyler, is reluctant to let her handle the story. He assigns her a story about waterless urinals on the UCLA campus. But when she gets there, Eric is already there because of a missing girl case. He introduces her to Misty Dawn, a psychic who led the police to the girl’s body.

When Sam is arrested for Pepper’s murder, Carol is shocked. The autopsy results reveal that Pepper was poisoned, and Carol begins to suspect Misty Dawn, who has a connection to Amber Marx. Sam is also charged with the murders of the other two agents from the agency, and then a young star with connections to the agency dies on a flight overseas. Is her friend Sam a serial killer, or is someone else trying to frame her?

The stakes become dangerously high when Charlie’s life is in danger, and Carol has to figure out the ending to this crazy, murderous script before someone else dies. But will she be able to toss out all the red herrings before she is taken off the air – permanently?

Nancy Cole Silverman delivers a delightful novel with plenty of twists and turns. Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, she throws a wrench into the works that makes you scratch your head in frustration. Carol is a good, strong woman with a wonderful supporting cast, and while I found Misty Dawn to be the wackiest woman in the world, I’m kind of hoping Silverman brings her back in the future. Shadow of Doubt is a well-written mystery with an ending that will leave you gasping in shock, and waiting to tune in for the next story.

Shadow of Doubt is available for purchase on Amazon and in bookstores everywhere!

Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: Fatal Brushstroke by Sybil Johnson

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

FATAL BRUSHSTROKE front under 2mbRory Anderson didn’t expect the furious barking coming from her backyard to turn her life upside down. But that’s exactly what happens when she goes outside and discovers a hand buried in her garden. That hand is attached to the body of Hester Bouquet, a local celebrity painter, and someone Rory had been avoiding. Did her suddenly missing gardener, Javier, bury Hester in Rory’s garden and leave town?

It doesn’t help Rory’s plea of innocence when she intentionally leaves out a few things when she first meets Detective Green. They aren’t that important, are they? She notices him talking to her neighbors, who all start to look at her suspiciously. And the fact that Chief Marshall has a personal vendetta against her doesn’t help her case at all.

With the help of her friend, Liz, Rory starts poking around in Hester’s life. The logical suspects appear to be the not-so-grieving widower, Julian, who seems to be a wee bit too close to another woman, Trudy, and their son, Kevin, who seems to resent his mother for some reason. Rory feels sorry for Julian’s assistant, Nora, who was very close to Hester and seemed to worship the very ground Hester walked on.

A nosy wannabe reporter,Veronica, starts stalking Rory, posting stories and pictures on her blog that make it clear (without actually printing her name) that Rory is the one and only suspect. And at Hester’s funeral, a close encounter with Chief Marshall reinforces this belief, making Rory more determined than ever to clear her name.

After inventorying Hester’s art supplies the day after the funeral, Rory becomes distracted when someone breaks into her mother’s art store, and her mother is attacked. As she cleans up the mess, Rory discovers a damning piece of evidence that she believes is going to lead her straight to the killer. But after she confronts Trudy with what she has found, she is shocked when she finds Trudy dead the next morning. Even worse, Detective Green discovers Trudy’s cell phone and a near empty pill bottle in Rory’s back seat that makes her look very, very guilty.

Undeterred, Rory and Liz keep digging into the history of all the players involved, until an innocent moment helps Rory realize who the real killer is. Can Rory and Liz trap the killer, before the killer can turn the tables and send Rory to the great beyond in a blaze of glory?

Fatal Brushstroke is a good book, and on a scale of one to five, I would give it a four. I felt that Ms. Johnson was trying too hard at the beginning to make Rory look guilty as sin, and I got a bit tired of her withholding information from Detective Green. I understand Rory’s reluctance to trust the young detective because of Chief Marshall’s influence, but it bothered me that Rory kept saying she was innocent, but didn’t do much to prove it in the eyes of the law. As a writer, I do the same thing sometimes with my characters, but I felt this was a bit extreme. Once I figured out who the killer was, I did read it to the end to make sure I was correct (I was). Things did start to pick up from about the middle of the book to the end. Overall, it is a very good mystery, and I am invested in the characters enough that I am looking forward to the next Rory mystery. I wish I was talented enough in the art department to try some of the things Ms. Johnson describes in the book, because they sound like fun projects. Well done, Ms. Johnson!

Fatal Brushstroke is available on Amazonand through IndieBound.

Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: Death by Blue Water by Kait Carson

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

DBBW coverIt’s a beautiful day to go diving, and Hayden Kent is at her favorite spot, the shipwreck of the Humboldt. Unfortunately, her pleasant outing is ruined when she discovers a dead body in the wreckage, and it isn’t one of the original crew members.

When the authorities show up, they don’t believe her story. They believe she is ‘narked’, a slang term for a condition that can cause divers to act irrationally. It doesn’t help that she also suffers from blinding migraines that cause her to black out. But once she and one of the Coast Guard divers, Paul Muller, dive down to the wreck, he sees the body for himself and realizes she’s right. During their ascent back to the surface, her regulator fails, and Paul saves her life. It seems the hoses on both of her regulators are defective.

She is asked to come down to the police station the next day to answer some questions, and takes her boss, lawyer Grant Huffman, with her. But their questioning makes her uncomfortable, and she walks away believing she is their number one suspect.

The reason she had gone on that dive was because of a bad break up with her boyfriend, Kevin Anderson. She was supposed to meet his brother, Richard, to give him Kevin’s things from her house, but a migraine caused her to cancel. When she woke up Saturday morning, she wasn’t at her house, but at a marina in a wet bathing suit, and no memory of how or why she was there. Then comes the news that the dead body was Richard Anderson, and witnesses claim to have seen her at the marina with him Friday night.

Desperate to clear her name, Hayden starts investigating the case, and she learns things about her ex-boyfriend she never knew. Her relationship with him was based on dozens of lies, and she’s not sure why he would lie to her. After someone breaks into her car one afternoon, she has a heated confrontation at her house with Kevin, who accuses her of killing his brother. (Methinks he doth protest too much!)

Hayden discovers a connection between the dead man and one of the officers investigating the case: he’s her brother-in-law. Two days before he was killed, his wife, Elena, had taken out a restraining order on him. There are recorded incidents of domestic abuse, and she admits to being on the boat with him Friday night. They had a fight; he hit her, even though she’s pregnant, and knocked her out. This makes her a viable suspect in her husband’s death, even more so than Hayden, but she not totally off the hook yet.

During another dive with her friend, Mallory, her air tanks fail. They discover that someone intentionally tampered with them, and since her name is on the side of the tanks, it is safe to say this is no accident. Then someone breaks into her house, knock her out and steal a charm bracelet she found during one of her dives.

Someone is trying to stop her from finding the truth, but Hayden is in too deep to stop. With the killer closing in on her, can she figure things out before someone cuts off her air supply permanently?

I found this book very interesting, because I know absolutely nothing about diving (you won’t find me near a body of water larger than my garden tub). The technical jargon didn’t go flying over my head, but I didn’t feel like I was being talked down to, either. It was presented in a very matter-of-fact way, like Hayden was teaching new students all about diving. The vulnerability of Hayden because of the migraines that cause blackouts added a different layer and dimension to her character that you don’t see very often. This was an intricately woven plot, with plenty of suspects (I guessed the wrong person!), and plenty of bad guys to hate. I loved it, and I cannot wait for Hayden’s next adventure. Well done, Kait, well done! Bravo!!! But I’m still not getting anywhere near the ocean…

Death by Blue Water is available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.

Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

BULLET CATCH coverEli Marks is working in Uncle Harry’s magic shop when his old high school friend, Jake North, shows up in disguise. He’s in town to shoot scenes for his new movie about Terry Alexander, aka the Cloaked Conjurer. Alexander revealed the secrets to magicians’ tricks, which broke the cardinal rule of magic: never reveal how the trick is done. Unfortunately for Alexander, doing this ruined his career. He died doing a trick called “The Bullet Catch”. It’s the last scene scheduled to be filled, and Jake is afraid it may be the last scene he ever films.

Their fifteen-year high school reunion is taking place while he is in town, and while they are there, they run Trish, who was the most popular girl in school back then. She’s married to Dylan Lasalle, the most likely to be arrested, how the heck did he graduate bad boy of their class. Dylan spends the evening ignoring his wife; instead, he spends the evening flirty with the women and getting drunk. Their last view of him that night is being driven away by Trish. The next morning, he’s dead.

The police think it might be a mugging, but Eli has no intention of getting involved in another case. So he visits the movie set, where he learns that Hollywood relationships have a shorter expiration date than a gallon of milk. No wonder Jake is worried. Having the star of the picture die while filming the final scene would guarantee a box office hit.

While Eli is worried about his friend, he’s asked to perform magic tricks at a private party. But when he gets there, this must be a seriously private party, because there are no cars anywhere. Instead, he an older gentleman named Mr. Lime, who wants to know what the police said to him about Dylan’s death. Mr. Lime is a bit of an odd duck, who loves to quote old movies, like Casablanca, Double Indemnity, and Laura, with an odd reference to Francis the Mule.

Feeling sorry for the Widow Lasalle puts Eli in the crosshairs of the Assistant District Attorney, who just happens to be his ex-wife, who just happens to be married to the lead detective of the case. She accidentally points him in the direction of another classmate, who turns up dead before his appointment with Eli.

The bodies continue to fall, Mr. Lime makes another creepy appearance with more movie references, and Eli becomes concerned that Trish may be next. But he’s also trying to figure out how to make sure Jake survives the final scene of the movie, the dreaded Bullet Catch.

Will Eli be able to use enough sleight of hand tricks to save Jake, and figure out who the killer is? Or will someone be doing The Broken Wand at his funeral?

The Bullet Catch is a delightfully wonderful book. I particularly like seeing a main character with flaws, in Eli’s case, his fear of heights. As I read those particular scenes, I could feel his fear, and at times, I felt my own heart racing for him. The First Thursday scene had me laughing out loud (good thing I was home alone at the time!). Gaspard wrote a fantastic book. The plot was intricate and detailed, and as a fan of the Golden Age of Hollywood, I loved all the references to the old movies. The plots of these movies are woven seamlessly into the mystery at the heart of the book, and I found myself stopping to remember the plots of these old movies, and trying to figure out how it related to the present mystery. I highly recommend The Bullet Catch, and I look forward to Eli’s next adventure. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. I’m off to Rick’s Place.

Bullet Catch is available for purchase on Amazon. For additional ways to purchase this book, visit the Henery Press website. Pick it up today!

Posted in Promote an Author, Review Thursday

Happy Release Week Kym Roberts! A Look at Dead Man’s Carve

 Dead Man’s Carve

by Kym Roberts
Series: Tickled to Death Mystery, #1
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Release Date: October 27, 2014

 

In the spirit of giving, all Author proceeds from the sale of this book are being donated to Wounded Veteran organizations.

 

 

Join the Facebook Party to Celebrate the Release of Dead Man’s Carve and enter “The Giving Library” Grand Prize Giveaway that features over 20 books from authors who have donated to the giveaway in support of Kym’s efforts to raise funds for Wounded Veterans.
Tuesday, November 4
6:00pm – 9:00pm CST

 

 

“There’s nothing wooden about Dead Man’s Carve.  Roberts mingles a sparkling, unique voice with a great old-fashioned mystery.”
Wendy Lyn Watson
Mysteries a la Mode
Pet Boutique Mysteries (as Annie Knox)

Rilee Dust isn’t your typical wood carver, she’s young and making a go of it in the small village of Tickle Creek, Oregon. She’s also the only one in town who isn’t determined to get rid of her strip club neighbor. Everyone else, however, is ready to evict the Girls, Girls, Girls.

When a dog adopts her and turns her life upside down, Rilee’s not so sure it’s a good thing. Especially when he leads her to a moose, a military man and a dead body. Because the moose kicked her butt, the man saved her life and the dead body is one of her customers.

Now Rilee’s smack dab in the middle of all the small town politics with a killer on the loose who has an ax to grind. And Rilee just may be the next victim to have her name carved in stone.

 

“Bogart!” I yelled, frantically circling and trying to locate the direction of his cries. “Bogart…Heeere!” Catching a glimpse of movement to my right I ran toward the commotion.

An eighty pound black and brown Boxer flew through the air in my direction. Ears cutting through the wind, his eyes looked crazed and his jowls flapped as he cried out in fear. The cause of his flight … an eight hundred pound Moose who was pissed off and raising cane. Or in this case raising Bogart with her nose. He landed on his feet — like a colt trying to stand for the first time — legs splitting, chest smacking the earthen floor.

None of that stopped his feet from moving. Bogart was back in the race of his life as the irate cow charged after him.

“Oh, crap.” My stomach dropped as I realized she wasn’t done with her assault, and I was the much larger target as Bogart led her straight to me. I turned and ran, with Bogart hot on my heels. The sound of the cow’s breath filled my head. The distance closed between us. Zigzagging through the trees, I couldn’t outrun her. Nor could I out-maneuver her. I just hoped she’d get tired and realized we weren’t a threat.

Unfortunately, she didn’t feel the same way.

Rilee Dust hasn’t left the town of Tickle Creek in almost three years. She’s a wood carver who owns her own store, which is located in the downstairs portion of her home. She has just finished carving a bride and groom wedding topper for the groom-to-be, Ryan, as a gift for his future wife. As Ryan and his best man, Steve, leave her store, Steve convinces him to visit Woody’s, a strip club within walking distance of her place. The place is an eyesore, in more ways than one, for the area shop owners. Everyone would like to see it go.

She can’t believe that a nice guy like Ryan would visit a strip club, but she is distracted by a big dog, which has a run-in with Rilee’s porcupine, Patty. She allows the dog to stay the night, even though she’s not sure how her significant other will feel about it.

The next morning, the dog, now named Bogart, has an unfortunate encounter with a moose, who charges after Rilee, and she nearly drowns in the creek. She’s rescued by a handsome stranger, a wounded veteran named Stone, who carries her home and sets the local gossips’ tongues wagging. He’s handsome, mysterious, and the first man to make her heart skip a beat since her fiancé died in a fire, trying to save the parents of Ryan’s bride-to-be. When Rilee returns to the creek to retrieve the jacket Stone took off of her, Bogart brings her the groom wedding topper, and leads her to the body of Ryan on the train tracks.

The police decide that Ryan’s death was accidental, but she doesn’t believe that.  Ryan is not the first man to die after going into the strip club, which is why Stone is there. Max, the first man, saved Stone’s life during the war, and he doesn’t believe Max’s death was an accident, either. Together, they begin to investigate the two deaths, as more strange incidents happen that seem to involve the strip club.

When she’s not investigating, she teaches a carving class with her father, and they have a class full of characters, including  Peggy, a lively older woman who sets her sights on Rilee’s dad; Bernard, the nerdy local pharmacist; and Tommy, the big gentle giant who is the bouncer from the strip club.

Rilee isn’t the only one who believes Tommy’s place of employment is at the center of all their troubles. Mayor Bob, who runs the bookstore on the other side of Rilee, has set up surveillance cameras on the club, the other businesses, and the parking lot. When he decides to confide in Rilee and Stone, he is brutally attacked before he can tell them anything.

When a body turns up in her garage, and she finds her own carving knife hidden in her car, Rilee realizes she’s getting close to the truth. But when the truth is finally revealed, she finds herself facing her greatest fear. Will she be able to survive or will a killer go free?

I wanted to read this book because my father is a carver, and I enjoy watching him work. Ms. Roberts does a wonderful job of sharing Rilee’s pain at the loss of the love of her life, and the struggle to move on. The picture she paints of Tickle Creek was so vivid, I swear I could hear the creek roaring in my backyard. My favorite character by far is Peggy. She is a pip, and I hope I’m just as lively at that age. It’s a good story that is well-written, and kept me guessing until the end. I cannot wait to read the next one!

 

 

 

Three career paths resonated for Kym during her early childhood: a detective, an investigative reporter, and…a nun. Being a nun, however, dropped by the wayside when she became aware of boys—they were the spice of life she couldn’t deny.

In high school her path was forged when she took her first job at a dry cleaners and met every cop in town, especially the lone female police officer in patrol. From that point on there was no stopping Kym’s pursuit of a career in law enforcement—even if she had to duct tape rolls of coins to her waist to meet the weight requirements to be hired.

Kym followed her dream and became a detective that fulfilled her desire to be an investigative reporter, with one extra perk—a badge. Promoted to sergeant Kym spent the majority of her career in SVU. She retired from the job reluctantly when her husband drug her kicking and screaming to another state, but writing continued to call her name, at least in her head.

 

 

Join Kym’s Street Team!
To join Kym’s Street Team, just like Kym’s Facebook Page and send her a PM on Facebook!

 

 

 

In support of Kym’s efforts to raise money for Wounded Veteran’s, Book Partners In Crime Promotions has donated this tour to Kym.

 

Posted in Review Thursday

Book Review Thursday: Wouldn’t It Be Deadly by D.E. Ireland

It’s Book Review Thursday. Come back each week to get a peek inside what authors I love and what storylines inspire me. 

WIBD-300x500 (2)Wouldn’t It Be Deadly returns us to the wonderful world of Eliza Doolittle and Professor Henry Higgins. Eliza is still living with the Professor’s mother, and she has become a phonetics teacher, employed by Maestro Emil Nepommuck. Between the two of them, they have several students, all wanting to sound more upper class for various reasons.

Higgins, however, is not pleased with Eliza’s employer, because Nepommuck’s ads make it sound like he trained Eliza, not Higgins, and he is using her to draw students to his school. Higgins vows to ruin Nepommuck, which could ruin Eliza’s career as well.

The students, as Eliza once did, will try out their newly-acquired upper crust accents at a part being held by Lady Gresham. Things quickly take a downward turn when Lady Gresham and Nepommuck announce their engagement, Mary Finch, one of their students, makes a scene, believing he loves her and not Lady Gresham. She is forcibly removed by the butler, with her embarrassed husband trailing behind her.

True to his word, Higgins gives a local newspaper damaging evidence about Nepommuck that will definitely ruin him. Shortly afterwards, Eliza finds the poor man dead, one of her tuning forks in his mouth, and she’s the prime suspect.

Luckily, her alibi checks out, and she reunites with her cousin, Jack Shaw, who is now a Detective Inspector for Scotland Yard. Unfortunately, because of the article in the newspaper, and the fact that he has no alibi, the prime suspect is now Higgins.

The duo begins to investigate the murder, and discover the victim was blackmailing some, if not all, of his students. And while they hope to find a murderer among the students, everyone seems to have an unshakeable alibi.

Returning to Nepommuck’s apartment to retrieve her things, Eliza, Higgins, Colonel Pickering and his friend, Major Aubrey Redstone, discover Cornelius Finch sitting on the sofa, and his wife dead at his feet. Does this mean Finch could have killed Nepommuck, too?

With pressure mounting from the victim’s fiancée and Scotland Yard, Higgins, Eliza, Jack and the rest of the troupe work frantically to find the real killer before Higgins is clapped in irons and thrown in prison.

D.E. Ireland has done a beautiful job of bringing Eliza and the Professor back to life. Being true to My Fair Lady, they create a wonderful mystery that shows the complex relationship between the two continues. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the authors paint a picture of Wimpole Street and London that makes the reader feel like they are right there, walking alongside the characters. I had absolutely no problem envisioning Audrey Hepburn, Rex Harrison, Jeremy Brett, and Wilfred Hyde-White as I read the story. The plot is well-written, with many twists, turns, a few surprises and an ending I didn’t see coming. This is a book I will gladly recommend, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series, Move Your Blooming Corpse. Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s 2:10 a.m., and I feel the need for a rousing rendition of “I Could Have Danced All Night” before I collapse into bed.

Pick up your copy of Wouldn’t it Be Deadly on Amazon and Barnes & Noble today!