Category: Mysteries

“A Cold Trail” by Robert Dugoni

“A Cold Trail” by Robert Dugoni

Tracy Crosswhite, Book 7

The last time homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite was in Cedar Grove, it was to see her sister’s killer put behind bars. Now she’s returned for a respite and the chance to put her life back in order for herself, her attorney husband, Dan, and their new daughter. But tragic memories soon prove impossible to escape.

Dan is drawn into representing a local merchant whose business is jeopardized by the town’s revitalization. And Tracy is urged by the local PD to put her own skills to work on a new case: the brutal murder of a police officer’s wife and local reporter who was investigating a cold-case slaying of a young woman. As Tracy’s and Dan’s cases crisscross, Tracy’s trail becomes dangerous. It’s stirring up her own haunted past and a decades-old conspiracy in Cedar Grove that has erupted in murder. Getting to the truth is all that matters. But what’s Tracy willing to risk as a killer gets closer to her and threatens everyone she loves?

I always forget how much I enjoy Tracy Crosswhite until I pick up the next book and can’t bear to put it down. This one was especially interesting because Tracy has become a mother and I was very curious to see how this was going to impact her work. I think the author did a very good job of exploring that through Tracy’s inner dialogue as she investigates the case and in her interactions with Dan. This story also has some very intricate plotting, complicated by the fact that it takes place in Cedar Grove, where Tracy grew up and where her sister was also murdered. I think the setting of the story also gave some insight into how Tracy became the person she is as the reader gets to see her through the eyes of the townspeople, many of whom remember her from her childhood.

I particularly enjoy a series where you get to see the character develop, change and mature with time and the situations that they find themselves in. This is one of those series. I really enjoyed this installment and look forward to many more books in this series.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Find Tracy on Amazon!

Tracy Crosswhite Book 1

“Facets of Death” by Michael Stanley

“Facets of Death” by Michael Stanley

David Bengu has always stood out from the crowd. His personality and his physique match his nickname, Kubu—Setswana for “hippopotamus”—a seemingly docile creature, but one of the deadliest in Africa. His keen mind and famous persistence have seen him rise in the Botswana CID. But how did he get his start?

His resentful new colleagues are suspicious of a detective who has entered the CID straight from university, skipping the usual beat cop phase.

Shortly after he joins the CID, the richest diamond mine in the world is robbed of 100,000 carats of diamonds in transit. The robbery is well-executed and brutal. Police immediately suspect an inside job, but there is no evidence of who it could be.

When the robbers are killed execution-style in South Africa and the diamonds are still missing, the game changes, and suspicion focuses on a witch doctor and his son. Does “Kubu” have the skill and the integrity to engineer an international trap and catch those responsible, or will the biggest risk of his life end in disaster?

Welcome to Botswana! This was my first visit and I really enjoyed it, though the heat can be a bit much at times.This story has a clever plot with intriguing twists and turns. But the best part about this book is the characters. They each have unique personalities and as Kubu joins the force his fellow officers are less than thrilled by his presence. But it is these somewhat fractious interactions that make the story so much fun. The main story involves the investigation into a diamond heist but Kubu also has a luggage heist to figure out. This book is the 7th in the series and would definitely pick up another one after reading this book. If you looking for something a little different in the mystery category, give detective Kubu a try.

Alinefromabook’s rating:   Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

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Click the picture to find it on Amazon!

“The Course of all Treasons” by Suzanne Wolfe

“The Course of all Treasons” by Suzanne Wolfe

Blurb:

England, 1586. Tensions rise as threats to the realm abound. Traitors are plotting for Mary Queen of Scots to depose Elizabeth I and take the throne. Rumors of a Spanish invasion by sea mount daily. And the body of one of Sir Francis Walsingham’s agents is found floating in the Thames as other agents face enemies armed with crossbows and vials of poison.

Nicholas Holt, a spy in Walsingham’s employ, narrowly averts the same fate while setting off in pursuit of the killer–or killers. And when he surprises a suspect in the company of a Spanish agent, he believes he’s close not only to solving the case but preventing an act of high treason.

But soon, the attacks begin to threaten Nick’s circle of friends. As those he loves face mortal peril, Nick must unravel the tangled plot, all the while steering a careful path through the fierce rivalry between Walsingham’s agents and those of the Queen’s favorite, the upstart Earl of Essex. Now it’s a race to the breathless conclusion as Nick desperately searches for the answers that can save the day–and a vestige of loyalty that can save his own life.

My Thoughts:

When I picked up this book, I was honestly shocked to find myself in Medieval England. I had completely forgotten why I originally selected this one and I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. It turns out that this story took me on a rollicking adventure across London. And the tour was guided by the handsome Nicholas Holt. This is a different kind of investigation because it’s in medieval times and Nicholas doesn’t have all the fancy tools that we have today but it forces you to pay more attention to the characters and their motives. My favorites were Nicholas and Rivkah. I also really enjoyed Annie as a counterpoint to Nick. The author did an excellent job of bringing Nicholas’s part of London alive and incorporating the differences between wealthy parts of the city and the impoverished parts. I found the politics of the time that influence the events to be really interesting too. This story is very much driven by the characters themselves, no gun fights or high speed chases, but that’s why it was such a good read.

Alinefromabook’s rating:   Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

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Find it on Amazon!

 

 

“Music Macabre” by Sarah Rayne

“Music Macabre” by Sarah Rayne

Blurb:

Music researcher Phineas Fox has been enjoying his latest commission, gathering background material for a biography of Franz Liszt. But although he has – as anticipated – uncovered plenty of scandal in the 19th century composer’s past, matters take a decidedly unexpected turn when his investigations lead to Linklighters, a newly-opened Soho restaurant built on the site of an old Victorian music hall, and unearth evidence of a possible murder involving the notorious music hall performer known as Scaramel.

Just what was Liszt’s connection to Scaramel … and, through her, to the infamous Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper? As he delves further, Phin’s enquiries uncover clues to a fascinating and extraordinary story – and plunge his own life into jeopardy.

My Thoughts:

This is the 4th book in this series, but the first one I have read. I found Phineas Fox to be a delightful character. The story here I thought was very unique, with 3 different story lines taking place but they all come together in the end. I’m not sure how much of the story is historically accurate but the historical parts felt real to me. There’s a supporting cast of great characters. The movement between the 3 stories keeps you engaged in trying to figure out the mystery. There are some thrills also to keep you on the edge of your seat and a good dose of London fog to give you that little chill down the spine. This was a great read and I hope to have a chance to read more from this series.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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“The Long Call” by Ann Cleeves

“The Long Call” by Ann Cleeves

Blurb:

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his estranged father’s funeral takes place. On the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly secrets hidden at their hearts are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind.

My Thoughts:

This is book 1 in the new Two River Series and I was so excited to receive and ARC from NetGalley for this one. I’m familiar with her stories from seeing the TV adaptations but this is my first time actually reading one of her books. This story more than lived up to the hype. The setting is North Devon, which I have never been to, but the author’s descriptions painted a wonderful picture of the place from the beaches to the little villages to the way the two rivers come together. Add to this the characters, a murder and two kidnappings and you have a great read. Matthew is not the typical police detective stereotype. He is full of insecurities and self-doubt, but his partners, both in life and in work, keep him pressing on. This story brings him into contact with family that he has not seen in years and re-opens some wounds he thought long healed. This story deals with issues of religion, homosexuality and disabilities, and does an excellent job of weaving them into the overall storyline. I found this book to be rich in detail, it moved at a good pace, it kept my attention and twisted my brain. I can’t wait for more in this series. This book release tomorrow, Sept. 3, in the U.S. so if your interested click the Amazon link below and pick up your copy.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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“Blood On the Tracks” by Martin Edwards

“Blood On the Tracks” by Martin Edwards

Blurb:

A signalman is found dead by a railway tunnel. A man identifies his wife as a victim of murder on the underground. Two passengers mysteriously disappear between stations, leaving behind a dead body.

Trains have been a favourite setting of many crime writers, providing the mobile equivalent of the “locked-room” scenario. Their enclosed carriages with a limited number of suspects lend themselves to seemingly impossible crimes. In an era of cancellations and delays, alibis reliant upon a timely train service no longer ring true, yet the railway detective has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the twenty-first century.

Both train buffs and crime fans will delight in this selection of fifteen railway-themed mysteries, featuring some of the most popular authors of their day alongside less familiar names. This is a collection to beguile even the most wearisome commuter.

My Thoughts:

This collection of short stories was such a delightful read I could hardly put it down. Some of the authors were names I recognized while most were completely new to me. There were only a couple of stories that didn’t fully capture my attention. All of the stories have something to do with trains. A couple of them were spooky but all of them really exemplified the Golden Age of Mystery. Both male and female detectives are represented across the stories. Several of the stories have a “locked-room” feel to them. I just really enjoyed this collection and I highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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“Murder in the Mill-Race” by E.C.R. Lorac

“Murder in the Mill-Race” by E.C.R. Lorac

Blurb:

“Never make trouble in the village” is an unspoken law, but it’s a binding law. You may know about your neighbor’s sins and shortcomings, but you must never name them aloud. It’d make trouble, and small societies want to avoid trouble.”

When Dr Raymond Ferens moves to a practice at Milham in the Moor in North Devon, he and his wife are enchanted with the beautiful hilltop village lying so close to moor and sky. At first, they see only its charm, but soon they begin to uncover its secrets—envy, hatred, and malice.

Everyone says that Sister Monica, warden of a children’s home, is a saint—but is she? A few months after the Ferens’ arrival her body is found drowned in the mill-race. Chief Inspector Macdonald faces one of his most difficult cases in a village determined not to betray its dark secrets to a stranger.

My Thoughts:

Milham in the Moor is a quiet little village where everybody knows everybody else’s business but no one will talk to an outsider. When a second murder, in a matter of months, occurs the village finds it harder and harder to keep quiet. Someone has upset the balance and Inspector Macdonald and Dr. Ferens are determined to find out who. My favorite characters in this story are Dr. Ferens and his wife. The author has created a loving young couple who want to make their life in this little village and they are just delightful to read about. I also really enjoyed Inspector Macdonald. He comes into the village looking for answers but is not heavy-handed about it. He respects the solidarity of the village but he will not stop looking and eventually he gets the breakthrough that he needs as the pieces of the puzzle slowly start to come together. I think the story moved along at a really good pace with lots of clues that I, as the reader, didn’t anticipate. The ending came as a surprise as well. I continue to enjoy this author from the “Golden Age of Mystery” and I’m really glad these books are being made available again. Fans of mysteries in historical settings should really enjoy this one.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Find it on Amazon – this one releases on Aug. 6th, 2019



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“Fire in the Thatch” by E. C. R. Lorac

“Fire in the Thatch” by E. C. R. Lorac

Ah! The beauty of the Devonshire countryside. Who would dare to blemish this lovely spot with arson and murder? That is the question facing Inspector MacDonald of Scotland Yard. It’s near the end of World War II and Nicholas Vaughan has retired from the Navy after losing an eye in a shipboard incident. He takes up the tenancy of a cottage and land called Little Thatch in Devon and immediately begins fixing the place up. He’s a very quiet man but lets it slip to his landlord, Colonel St. Cyres, that he is planning to take a wife. That is until the night that the cottage burns down with him in it. The Coroner rules it an accident but Vaughan’s former Navy superior wields his influence and gets MacDonald sent to take a second look at the investigation. What seems straightforward at the outset turns into a very twisty tale.

This book is a British Library Crime Classic and the first I have read by this author. I would say that it reads most like a cozy mystery but with the complexity of classic British crime. The story contains a variety of country and urban characters and makes a point of showing up the contrasts between the two. I found Inspector MacDonald to be what you would expect of Scotland Yard at that time: thorough, professional, and dogged in pursuit of answers. The writing style is a little more formal than today’s mysteries but not difficult to read. There are however some conversations with the Devon natives that are written in dialect and were a bit of challenge to get through. All of that being said, I did really enjoy this story, it’s slightly old-fashioned style being a nice change from the thrillers I’ve recently being reading.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“Lullaby Road” by James Anderson

“Lullaby Road” by James Anderson

Something really different for your reading pleasure! Ben Jones is a truck driver on Route 117, a remote highway in the desert of Utah. He travels back and forth from Price to Rockmuse making deliveries the “desert rats” that live along his route. As he heads off on his route one winter morning he comes across a mute Hispanic child. Not being able to leave the child alone at a truck stop, he takes him with in the cab planning to find his father, a truck stop employee, upon his return. This is just the start of what will turn out to be a very unusual day for Ben and everyone who lives on Route 117.

This story is simply incredible and there’s really not a good category to put it in. It’s fiction but with a lot of mystery and thrills thrown in. Ben is a bit of a troubled soul. His lost the love of his life and his only comfort is the presence of a young single mom who lives in the other half of his duplex. His route puts him in contact with a wild assortment of people, some friendly, others downright hostile, and all wanting to be left alone. Rockmuse is a community that is slowly being abandoned following the withdrawal of a source of employment. This story is so rich with characters and all of them make the narrative happen, none of them feeling superfluous. I also really enjoyed the rich descriptions of the desert, capturing everything about it from the rocks to the weather, and you really get the feeling that the desert and the people that live there and somehow intrinsically intertwined with each other. Finally, the story itself is full of attention-grabbing interactions and twists that all feel like they could really happen but perhaps only in that place. You really should check out this rich and fascinating story.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  5-star-rating 5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

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!

Available on Amazon