Month: May 2015

“The Truth and Other Lies” by Sascha Arango

This is the author’s first book but his experience as a screenwriter shows through in this beautifully crafted and intriguing story.

This story revolves around Henry and his seemingly non-stop mind games. Henry is a world-renowned author but he is a mystery, even to those closest to him. One night he slept with a stranger and discovered a manuscript under the bed. Henry sees a potential goldmine in the book and the author agrees to let him try to publish it as long as he does so under his name. They get married and the arrangement makes them rich. Then one day his wife is driving his editor’s car when it goes off a cliff. Here the story becomes Columbo-like in that we know who’s responsible for the death but the police have to figure it out. Henry never reveals his true self to anyone but is always spinning his past to suit his own needs. Henry is an engaging and charming character. The story never gets boring, in part because of Henry’s scheming. The story has also been written from the perspective of the various people in Henry’s life. The narrative rotates from one character to another keeping you constantly wondering what’s coming next.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope to see more from Sascha Arango in the future. This is great storytelling.

Happy Reading!

Thanks to NetGalley for the advanced copy. This book will be released June 4, 2015.

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“Missing Era: The Emergence” by A. O. Khalil

“Missing Era: The Emergence” by A. O. Khalil

Horror, action, thrills, and mystery, all rolled into one book! This story never stopped throwing curveballs.

Jayson narrates the story. He’s an ordinary guy, happily married to Jule. But then sinkholes start appearing all over the country, and people start disappearing. Many people are escaping the cities as news comes that strange creatures have been coming out of the holes. Jayson and Jule don’t leave right away, but then comes the morning that a sinkhole opens up in the park across the street. Jayson makes plans to meet up with his family at his parent’s cabin. But this will be no simple road trip. The creatures are killing everybody in sight and one of them comes after Jule.

As the story unfolds Jayson and Jule, and a growing number of others, have numerous encounters with these creatures. Jayson finds himself as the leader of this motley group, which includes his sister, a couple of neighbors and strangers they come across at a gas station. They make it to the home of Jule’s parents where they are able to hide out temporarily in the basement and regroup. Jayson is able to rescue his brother, his girlfriend, and another sister. Throughout their struggles, with these creatures they now call the Uglies, they are picking up clues about them. But each clue brings more questions. After stocking up on supplies, they make it to the cabin only to find more strange occurrences.

The story ends with many unanswered questions, but the author has planned for a series and I find myself curious to know how this is all going to turn out. I found the book to be very readable, though just a little bit too gory for my taste in a couple of places. The author did an excellent job of developing his main characters, it’s obvious a great deal of thought when into the story. The narrative felt a bit jerky in some places but did not detract from the overall story being told. Even though this genre is not one that I’m the most comfortable with, I found that I just couldn’t stop reading it. This book is scheduled for release on Kindle on May 19, 2015 and is definitely worthy of consideration. Teens and younger adults are probably the best audience for this book.

Missing Era: The Emergence (Series 1)

Happy Reading!

“W is for Wasted” by Sue Grafton

“W is for Wasted” by Sue Grafton

I just love hanging out with Kinsey Millhone, and she is at the top of her game for this case. Kinsey is still living in Henry’s garage but there’s a new addition to the family, a cat named Ed. Personally, I love cats in mystery stories, so I was very excited when Ed appeared. There’s also a brief visit from a former love interest of Kinsey’s. So what’s going on with this time?

Kinsey is called to the morgue one day to identify a body. She’s never seen him before, so why did they call her? Her business card was found in the victim’s pocket. Terrence Dace, the victim, was a homeless man. Kinsey does some routine checking and finds out his identity, then she is present when his safe deposit box is opened. Inside is his will and much to Kinsey’s surprise, she is named not only as executor of Dace’s estate but also beneficiary of the half million dollars in that estate. Dace has explicitly disinherited his three children. Kinsey is going to have to break the news to them.

In parallel to Kinsey’s story is the story of Pete Wolinsky, a run-down, shady private eye who Kinsey was acquainted with but hadn’t, thankfully, had contact with for years. Pete is out for a buck, and while good intentioned, gets involved in something bigger than himself and ends up dead. There is no obvious connection between Pete’s death and Kinsey’s investigation of Terrence Dace’s death. But just keep reading.

As is usual in one of Sue Grafton’s books there are lots of twists and turns, and just when you think you have it figured out … you don’t. This book is another homerun for Grafton, perhaps the best yet. If you are a mystery lover and have not yet discovered this series, well, what are you waiting for?

Happy Reading!

W is for Wasted (Kinsey Millhone Mysteries)

“Holding Fire” by Scott Hughes (Editor)

“Holding Fire” by Scott Hughes (Editor)

This is a collection of short stories all based around the theme of self-destruction. I haven’t a short story collection in I don’t know how long and if this is any example, I’ve been missing out. There’s some really good stuff in this book and some of the best are written by the youngest authors.

“Running With Guilt” by Maggie Stancu is a definite favorite. The story tracks a killer in the days following a murder. The drama is heightened by the time-stamping throughout the story. This author really gets into her killer’s head with a believability that was shocking after I learned that she’s a high school student.

“Dog Eat Dog” by Joy Meehan. I loved this story which centers around an office worker and her horrible boss. The story also has a very surprising twist at the end. These characters are devious to the end but the story was a wonderful read anyway.

“Death’s Door” by Chris Chan. This is a detective type story with a retired cop and his grandson doing the detecting. These guys are just charming, though Q is a little off-beat. Really enjoyable reading.
This is just a sampling of the good stuff in this book. If you’re looking for something short and not-so-sweet check out this collection. This book is published by OnlineBookClub.org.

Purchase from Amazon

Happy Reading!

“Donners of the Dead” by Karina Halle

“Donners of the Dead” by Karina Halle

There is an author’s note at the beginning of this book which explains what the book is about, but even though I read it I apparently didn’t really pay attention to what it said. Then I get a few chapters in and realized there are zombies in the story. Now I don’t usually go for zombie type stories and I almost decided to stop reading it. Then I thought, “Well, I’m really enjoying the story and there’s a lot of elements that don’t involve the zombies.” So I decided to keep reading and I’m so glad I did. Karina Halle tells a wonderful story.

The backdrop of this story is the ill-fated Donner party that was trapped over the winter in the Sierra Nevadas. The narrative centers on a teenage Eve, who is living with her aunt, uncle, mother and cousin, after the death of her father. Her mother has not spoken since her husband’s death. Eve is the daughter of a white mother and an Indian father, and her uncle hates her for it. He relegates her to the barn and treats her not as a niece but, at best as a ranch worker, and at worst as a burden on his life. Eve’s father was a well-known tracker and guide, and Eve learned many of his skills before he died. When a group of men ride into the town needing a guide they are told that Eve is the best person in the area. Their story is that the uncle of one of the men went into the Sierra Nevadas as part of a group searching for what happened to the Donner party, but he never returned, and now they want to find him. But is there another motive?

Eve’s uncle agrees to let her go, he sees nothing but dollar signs, but her aunt insists that she be accompanied by a fellow ranch-hand, Avery, and another local girl, Donna, to function as chaperone. The group sets off into the mountains. On the first day they encounter a couple of Indians who try to warn them of danger in the mountains, but since they don’t speak English the men disregard the warning. Not too long after that they have their first encounter with the strange creatures that live there. One of the men in the group, Jake, seems to take an instant dislike to Eve, and she to him. But will their opinions of each other change as they continue to encounter the dangerous creatures?

As I said earlier, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The story line was clever and original, and the author’s style made for an easy but exciting read. The characters, especially Eve, Jake, Avery, and Donna, were well thought out and well written. The author pulled me into the drama right away and kept me there until the last page. Some of the zombie scenes were graphic in nature, but there was so much more to the story than just blood and gore that it didn’t feel overwhelming. I would love to see more stories with these characters. I would highly recommend this book. It’s got adventure, twists and turns, and a bit of romance too. I think just about anybody could find something to like here.

Happy Reading!

Donners of the Dead from Amazon