Category: Mysteries

Cozy Mystery Book Review: “Strong Spirits” by Alice Duncan

Cozy Mystery Book Review: “Strong Spirits” by Alice Duncan

This is the first in the Daisy Gumm Majesty series. Daisy is a young woman with a big load on her shoulders. The setting is Pasadena, CA in the 1920’s just after the First World War has ended. Daisy married her high school sweetheart just before he went off to the war. He was returned to her disabled and confined to a wheelchair. Since he can’t work they live with her parents and her aunt. When Daisy was 10 she discovered that she was very good at pretending to tell fortunes and hold séances. Since then she has worked to hone her skills and now she is a favorite in the parlors of Pasadena’s wealthier citizens. She is an especial favorite of Mrs. Kincaid, for whom her Aunt Vi is the cook and her best friend is a maid. One evening Daisy holds a séance at Mrs. Kincaid’s and a whole sequence of mysterious events is kicked off. When Detective Sam Rotondo enters into the picture, Daisy may have met her match.

I found this book delightful. Daisy is not your typical psychic, rather she’s a good-hearted young lady to whom life has dealt a very challenging hand. The story is narrated by Daisy and I loved reading her about her life from her point of view. She struggles to stay upbeat for her husband, because even though he can’t give her a family she still loves the young man she married. The war has just ended and the economy is just starting to improve, but the prosperity hasn’t yet trickled down to the rank and file citizens and Daisy struggles with having to be the breadwinner for her family, especially since her profession is technically a crime. She does, however, have an indomitable spirit, a do-what-needs-to-be-done attitude, and a bright personality which just made this mystery a fun read. If you enjoy mysteries in an historical setting that you should really like this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “A Pedigree to Die For” by Laurien Berenson

Book Review: “A Pedigree to Die For” by Laurien Berenson

What could be better on a Christmas weekend then a delightful, cozy mystery? Nothing, of course. “A Pedigree to Die For” was delightful from beginning to end. Melanie is a single mother with a very busy 4 year old son. As the story opens summer break is just starting and Melanie finds out that the summer teaching job she was counting on has fallen through. Then she gets the news that her Uncle Max was found dead, of an apparent heart attack, on the floor of the kennel where he and Aunt Peg raise Poodles for competition. Aunt Peg also informs her that their prize-winning stud dog, Beau, went missing the same night, and then she proceeds to recruit Melanie to help her in finding the dog. Along the way, Melanie learns more she thought she ever wanted to know about the dog show circuit and the Standard Poodle breed.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Being a cat lover, I wasn’t sure if a book with dogs would keep my interest, but the characters in this story were so engaging that I once I started I could hardly put it down. There is family discord and secrets, ruthless competitors, and a whole pack of Poodles to knock you over every time you enter the door. This book is first in a series and it’s a great start.

Who would enjoy this book: mystery lovers or dog lovers

What age is this book appropriate for: any age would enjoy this one, there are no sex scenes, bad language or graphic violence.

Alinefromabook’s recommendation: Definitely a THUMBS-UP! Get a copy and cozy up to a good read.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: “Try Not to Breathe” by Holly Seddon

Book Review: “Try Not to Breathe” by Holly Seddon

Ingenious storyline! Everybody in this book is in the midst of a personal crisis, in fact, part of the mystery of the story is will they survive. But the larger question is, Who raped Amy and left her for dead? So what’s going on that makes this book great?

Amy is a 30 year-old woman who has been in a vegetative state since she was attacked 15 years earlier. She has been hospitalized and unable to communicate since the day she was found in a local park. She exists in a special ward of the hospital where she has a friend. Jacob comes to visit her almost daily. Jacob and Fiona have been married for a couple of years and are expecting their first child. Fiona doesn’t know about Amy but her presence in the relationship is causing a lot of friction between her and Jacob. Then one day, somebody new visits with Amy; her name is Alex. Alex is a journalist whose life is in the dumpster, she’s an alcoholic with liver disease, she had a miscarriage, lost her job and all her friends, and her husband left her for another woman. Alex is desperately trying to hang on to a shred of a career as a freelancer and she’s been assigned to write a story about the research going on in the hospital ward where Amy resides. With a little encouragement, Alex decides to do her own investigation into what happened to Amy. This decision will change lives. If you want to know more, you need to get a copy of the book.

One of my favorite things about this story was that the characters were so flawed. Alex has so many close calls that you wonder if she will even survive to tell the story she is unraveling. Jacob is at rock bottom in his marriage because he can’t seem to move past Amy. Fiona is caught in the middle without even knowing it because Jacob refuses to reveal his secrets. The author does a wonderful job of presenting the story from varying perspectives, with the narrative being told alternately by the different characters. This is a wonderful book and I highly recommend that you get a copy when it is released early next year.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: “The Lake House” by Kate Morton

Book Review: “The Lake House” by Kate Morton

This is a new favorite for me. Everything about this book was beautifully crafted, from the cover to the last page.

Sadie is a police detective in London who’s being forced to take leave because she talked to a reporter about an active case. She decides to visit her grandfather who has moved to Cornwall following the death of his wife. One morning, while out jogging with her grandfather’s dogs, she comes upon the Lake House. Her curiosity piqued, she learns that the house was vacated by the owners 70 years previously after a family tragedy. The only son of the family, only 2 years old at the time, disappears during a party and no one knows what happened to him. Since she can’t go back to work yet, Sadie decides to launch an investigation into the mystery of Theo’s disappearance.

As you’ve probably guessed, I loved this book. There’s mysteries within mysteries. The characters are complex and appealing. Sadie, in particular, captured my imagination. She’s a skilled detective but vulnerable to her emotions and haunted by her past, a past she must come to terms with during her investigation. This story is more than just a mystery though. It’s a journey into the heart of relationships and commitments, and how one choice can reverberate through time. There is a richness to this story that made it a true pleasure to read and I highly recommend it, not just to mystery lovers, but to all lovers of good fiction. Thank you to Kate Morton for enriching my reading experience with this wonderful story.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “Broken Prey” by John Sandford

Book Review: “Broken Prey” by John Sandford

A little gruesome in places but nevertheless a great read! Lucas Davenport is an investigator in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In this story (no. 16 in the series), he is faced with a particularly grisly serial killer. There are few clues to follow up until the killer starts to call a local journalist. But this guy is clever and leads the investigation down several rabbit trails before Davenport can figure it out. Sloan is working with Davenport again in this one and Elle shows up a couple of times. Davenport’s wife, Elle, and their children are in London throughout the story.

This book is another winner from John Sandford. I especially enjoy the Minneapolis setting of the book since I am familiar with several of the locations mentioned. Davenport is definitely one of the good guys and by the time you get to this book in the series he is a well-developed character and a good friend of the reader. The plotline in this one is especially twisty, something I really enjoy. If you enjoy mysteries/thrillers, I think you will really like this book. I would not recommend this for younger readers due to the graphic nature of some of the scenes.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “High Profile” by Robert B. Parker

Book Review: “High Profile” by Robert B. Parker

Jesse Stone is such a heartthrob! I enjoy him more every time I read one of the books in the series. This one also features Sunny Randall who is another one of my favorite detectives.

There are two plotlines going in this story. First, a nationally known journalist is found dead in Paradise and a few hours later a young woman is found dead in a dumpster. Turns out the woman is the journalist’s girlfriend and Jesse has high profile murders on his hands. As the investigation begins, Jesse gets a call from his ex-wife Jenn, who now lives in Boston, claiming that she was raped. Jesse recruits Sunny to investigate Jenn’s story and protect her until the rapist is found. The story moves back and forth between the two investigations. The investigation into the murders starts off slow, but as usual, Jesse is dogged in his persistence. Meanwhile, Jenn’s story heats up as Sunny spots someone stalking her.

This is another great mystery from one of the masters of the genre. I highly recommend it!

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “Bartleby and James” by Michael Coorlim

Book Review: “Bartleby and James” by Michael Coorlim

An absolutely delightful romp through Edwardian London! This was such a fun book to read. It’s categorized as Edwardian Steampunk which is a genre I’ve never picked up before so I had no idea what to expect. I was so pleasantly surprised. This story is set in the early 1900’s, has a bit of a Sherlock and Watson feel and explores the scientific developments of the period in a fun way. The heroes are Alton Bartleby, an aristocratic son with a short attention span, and James Wainwright, an engineer who loves to invent new machines. These two guys are such good friends and so likable; the author has done a great job fleshing out these characters. They take on four different cases in this book ranging from automatons to spirits. This book is the first in a series and I am definitely interested to read the rest. There is some violence but no bad language or sex scenes so I think it would be suitable for just about any age. The book is on the shorter side, so a perfect lazy Sunday read. I hope you have as much fun with it as I did.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “A Field of Red” by Greg Enslen

Book Review: “A Field of Red” by Greg Enslen

“A Field of Red” is a mystery/thriller. Two young girls, one the daughter of a town councilman, have been kidnapped in broad daylight, just a block from their school. Frank Harper is a down-on-his luck, retired police officer, in town to try and reconcile with his estranged daughter. Chief King is the local police chief whose force is overwhelmed by the kidnapping. When Chief King learns that Harper is in town he seeks his assistance in finding the two girls because of Harper’s experience with kidnappings. But Frank is a drunk and extremely reluctant to get involved. Eventually the promise of a reward convinces him to help as a consultant.

This story is full of twists and turns, and the ending will definitely surprise. I really enjoyed this story because of the complexity of the mystery but more importantly for the way the author portrayed Frank Harper and his struggles. I could feel Frank’s desperation about his relationship with his daughter and his growing realization of his alcohol problem. The relationships in this book were quite touching and not just an afterthought, something you don’t always get in mystery/crime story. I would definitely recommend this book for readers of mystery and crime fiction. Thumbs up to Greg Enslen for this engaging story.

Happy Reading!

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Book Review: “Words to Die By” by Jeanne Lamb-Carlin

Book Review: “Words to Die By” by Jeanne Lamb-Carlin

“Words to Die By” is a delightful cozy mystery! There is a story within a story which is expertly presented by the author. Lizzie is written a fictional account of the hunt for a serial killer, but then murders start occurring in her quiet little town which appear to have been copied from the book. Only a few of Lizzie’s friends have read the book, is one of them the murderer? Lizzie and her best friend Ally decide they need to investigate. The problem is, Ally’s boyfriend is the copy assigned to the case and he doesn’t want her anywhere near the investigation. What happens next? You’ll have to read the book for yourself if you want to find out. The characters in this story are likeable and endearing, and the story will keep you guessing till the end. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely read more from this author. NOTE: This is book 2 in a series but also stands on its own.

Happy Reading!

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“Dangerous Games” (A Rossetti & MacLane Novel – Volume 1) by Jerome Dumont

“Dangerous Games” (A Rossetti & MacLane Novel – Volume 1) by Jerome Dumont

Discover something new! Jerome Dumont is a French author and this is the first book in his Rossetti & MacLane series. The version I read is a translation from the French and the first of the author’s books to be translated. Up front I just want to say that the translation is excellently done.

The story opens with Gabriel Rossetti, a young, single lawyer, in Nice, France. He’s in a pretty comfortable routine as summer approaches, processing his cases while being egged on by his assistant Nina, and trading barbs with best friend Martinez. Then Amanda Deschamps walks into his office. Amanda is the owner of a very successful online game design company. Her husband works for her in the business. They are on the verge of launching an industry changing game but Amanda is worried that her husband is having an affair. Gabriel is used to dealing with divorces and the suspicious spouses involved, so he sets his investigator Mr. Paul to the case. What the investigation reveals will take Gabriel from Nice to Montreal and back again, and his days will never again be ordinary.

Gabriel is a confident and charming character, he has laid out his life in a way that suits him, takes the clients he wants, and always does an excellent job. Amanda is a very capable business woman who is confident in her decisions but not arrogant about it. She has created a company that her employees love to work at, and with a growing customer base, has taken the gaming world by storm. Both of these characters have been well-crafted by the author and were a pleasure to get to know. I enjoyed the author’s descriptions of the locations where the story take place and the suspense that has been built in to this mystery. In addition, the author gives a lot of background information about the gaming world and either knows the business personally or did an immense amount of research while writing this book.

I’m highly recommending this book for mystery lovers and gamers alike. It seems that the author is planning to have more of this series translated and I will be looking forward to reading them. I’m giving “Dangerous Games” a rating of 4 out of 4 stars.

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