Category: Mystery

“Missing Persons” by Michael Brandman

“Missing Persons” by Michael Brandman

LAPD homicide detective Buddy Steel finds himself detoured from his own life when his ailing father, Sheriff Burton Steel, calls him home to Freedom to take over as deputy. Though relations between father and son have always been strained, and Buddy reluctantly agrees to the arrangement.

When he begins investigating the possible disappearance of a famous local televangelist’s wife, he is met with outright antagonism. While the highly-secured husband insists that his wife is simply visiting a relative, the housekeeper who reported her missing fears she may have been murdered. And no one, from family members to ministry security and staff to the prosecutor’s office seems inclined to help Buddy in his investigation. In fact, many go out of their way to stop him.

But the more he pokes and prods, the more he realizes that the Bible-thumping family and their television empire may be an elaborate cover for a less-than-holy enterprise. This is far more than a typical missing person case. But how far up does the corruption reach—and will Buddy pay the ultimate price for refusing to look the other way?

Michael Brandman is a new-to-me author and he captured my attention with this story right away and kept me glued to the page till the end. Set in a small town on the coast of California, I instantly felt at home. Also, if you’ve been around for a while, you know I have a particular interest in stories with a cult connection.

Buddy Steel had me a little flummoxed at first because he is so conflicted about his new role as Sheriff. He did grow on me quickly though. I really enjoyed the interplay between him and his deputies. The author did a great job of incorporating Buddy’s personal conflicts into the story so that you can relate to him as a complete person not just a stereotype.

The story itself was original and had some great twists before the end. I enjoyed the author’s direct writing style which gave the narrative an added punch. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this first in a series book and will definitely pick up more books in this series.

Happy Reading!

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“The Nothing Man” by Catherine Ryan Howard

“The Nothing Man” by Catherine Ryan Howard

Narrated by Alana Kerr-Collins and John Keating

“The Secret Mother” by Shalini Boland

“The Secret Mother” by Shalini Boland

Narrated by Katie Villa

Tessa Markham comes home to find a little boy in her kitchen. He thinks she’s his mother. But Tessa doesn’t have any children. 

Not anymore.

She doesn’t know who the child is or how he got there.

After contacting the police, Tessa comes under suspicion for snatching the boy. She must fight to prove her innocence. But how can she convince everyone she’s not guilty when even those closest to her are questioning the truth? And when Tessa doesn’t even trust herself…

This story had me intrigued from the opening chapter. Tessa comes home to find a child claiming to be her son in her kitchen. She is thrown for a loop. Now she can’t help but want to unravel the mystery of this child. The process will force her to confront her own history and even question her sanity. I couldn’t help but hope for the best even when everything seemed to be working against her.

This story has some surprising twists. I liked the pace of the story, it kept moving forward without dragging but also didn’t feel rushed. The story is well narrated by Katie Villa. She adds the right amount of drama to her narration to make the story come alive without overdoing it. I thoroughly enjoyed this listen.

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Flash Review: “A Curious Beginning” by Deanna Raybourn

Flash Review: “A Curious Beginning” by Deanna Raybourn

Narrated by Angele Masters

Plot Summary: London, 1887. As the city prepares to celebrate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee, Veronica Speedwell is marking a milestone of her own. After burying her spinster aunt, the orphaned Veronica is free to resume her world travels in pursuit of scientific inquiry – and the occasional romantic dalliance. As familiar with hunting butterflies as she is fending off admirers, Veronica wields her butterfly net and a sharpened hatpin with equal aplomb, and with her last connection to England now gone, she intends to embark upon the journey of a lifetime. But fate has other plans, as Veronica discovers when she thwarts her own abduction with the help of an enigmatic German baron with ties to her mysterious past. Promising to reveal in time what he knows of the plot against her, the baron offers her temporary sanctuary in the care of his friend Stoker – a reclusive natural historian as intriguing as he is bad-tempered. But before the baron can deliver on his tantalizing vow to reveal the secrets he has concealed for decades, he is found murdered. Suddenly Veronica and Stoker are forced to go on the run from an elusive assailant, wary partners in search of the villainous truth.

What I liked about it: Veronica Speedwell. She’s a gutsy young lady, an adventurer, who suddenly finds herself alone in the world with somebody out to get her. Very enjoyable characters in this book and an engaging plotline.

What I didn’t like: The first couple of chapters took a little time to get going but once the preliminaries were over it was full speed ahead. This is the first book in a series so there is some groundwork that has to be laid. I’ve also read one of the books further into the series and there is not as much background in subsequent installments.

Quality of narration:  Excellent!

Would I recommend:  Yes!!

Rating:   Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

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“Robert Parker’s Grudge Match” by Mike Lupica

“Robert Parker’s Grudge Match” by Mike Lupica

Sunny Randall Book 8

When Sunny’s long-time gangster associate Tony Marcus comes to her for help, Sunny is surprised–after all, she double crossed him on a recent deal, and their relationship is on shakier ground than ever. But the way Tony figures it, Sunny owes him, and Sunny’s willing to consider his case if it will clear the slate.

Tony’s trusted girlfriend and business partner has vanished, appears to have left in a hurry, and he has no idea why. He just wants to talk to her, he says, but first he needs Sunny to track her down. While Sunny isn’t willing to trust his good intentions, the missing woman intrigues her–against all odds, she’s risen to a position of power in Tony’s criminal enterprise. Sunny can’t help but admire her, and if this woman’s in a jam, Sunny would like to help.

But when a witness is murdered hours after speaking to Sunny, it’s clear there’s more at stake than just Tony’s love life. Someone–maybe even Tony himself–doesn’t want this woman on the loose…and will go to any lengths to make sure she stays silent.

Sunny Randall is up in my Top 10 of female detectives so I was very pleased to be granted a review copy of this latest release. This actually turned out to be a quick read from me because I just couldn’t put it down. Sunny’s got a bad history with Tony Marcus but now he needs her help and is willing to let bygones be bygones, or so he says. While Sunny is looking for his missing girlfriend, the competition is trying to move in on Tony and is not afraid of using Sunny as a part of their takeover attempt. Then she is suddenly confronted with the re-appearance of her ex-husband’s son in their lives.

There are a lot of moving parts in this story but the author expertly wove them together into a story that keeps you guessing. Sunny is brash and ballsy on the job, but finds herself getting more and more wrapped up with the little boy. I love that these stories are set in Boston, a city I have visited but don’t really have a good knowledge of. A lot of the enjoyment for me in reading is getting to visit places I don’t know much about. Sunny is a character that has developed over the course of the series into a tough and loyal detective, with a enough of a feminine side to be relatable for us ordinary folk. As for the mob guys, well, I like the uniqueness of their characters but as people I wouldn’t want to get anywhere near them. That Sunny can hold her own in their presence amazes me.

I am recommending this book because I really enjoy the writing and pacing of the story, I love the character of Sunny, and the location is on that intrigues me. If you haven’t discovered Sunny Randall yet that you need to, plain and simple.

Alinefromabook’s rating:   Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

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“In Her Shadow” by Kristin Miller

“In Her Shadow” by Kristin Miller

When secretary Colleen Roper becomes pregnant by her boss, Michael, he whisks her away to Ravenwood, his opulent estate. Abruptly thrust into a life of luxury she’s never known, Colleen finds the immense house suffused with the memory of Michael’s wife, Joanna, who left months ago and haunts her imagination. With rooms she’s prohibited from entering and a staff that greets her with hostility, there is little room for a new mistress of Ravenwood.

It’s not long before bones are unearthed in the grove across the street and Michael falls under the suspicion of detectives. The soon-to-be mother of his child finds herself hurled deeper into her lover’s dark past, a past filled with unfaithfulness and deception. Making a claim to her new life is harder than it seems—especially since she’s walking in the shadow of the hauntingly beautiful Joanna. As Colleen untangles truth from lies, she discovers that nothing is what it seems, and that some people will kill to keep their secrets as quiet as the dead.

This mystery is inspired by “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier and the first chapter feels very reminiscent of “Rebecca”. But the story’s originality quickly becomes apparent after the first chapter. I was drawn in by the characters immediately. Colleen is a lovely young lady who appears very naive. While Michael comes across as very much taking advantage of Colleen. Don’t be deceived though, these characters are much more complex than they at first appear. Motives shift from one person to another and you will have to get to the end in order to fully understand what has been happening throughout.

This book is loaded with murder, deception, ulterior motives and betrayal, all wrapped up in a mysterious modern setting. I enjoyed this story much more than I expected to and highly recommend it.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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“Strike Me Down” by Mindy Mejia

“Strike Me Down” by Mindy Mejia

Nora Trier catches thieves. As a forensic accountant and partner in her downtown Minneapolis firm, she’s unearthed millions in every corner of the world. She prides herself on her independence, the most essential currency of accounting, until her firm is hired by Strike.

An anti-corporate, feminist athletic empire, Strike is owned by Logan Russo, a brash and legendary kickboxer, and her marketing genius husband, Gregg Abbott. They’re about to host a major kickboxing tournament with twenty million dollars in prize money, and the chance for the champion to become the new face of the company. Gregg suspects his wife already has a new face in mind—a young trainer named Aaden, for whom Logan feels an unexpected connection.

Days before the tournament begins, it’s discovered that the prize money is missing. Gregg hires Nora’s firm to find both the thief and the money but Nora has a secret connection to Strike that threatens her independence. Her partner pressures her into taking the case anyway, hinting he has information about Strike that could change the course of the investigation in a shocking and deadly way.

“Strike Me Down” had me excited and a little nervous from the beginning. The lead character Nora is a CPA, like me, and this immediately drew my attention. Let’s face it, the accounting profession doesn’t get my time in fiction. The martial arts aspect of the story had me a little nervous though because I’m not a particular fan. I was very curious to see how this story was going to develop, but Mindy Mejia hadn’t let me down before so I quickly dove in. This turned out to be a great story. The criminal is not immediately obvious and my suspicions changed several times before I was able to narrow down my suspect pool. Once again, the character’s in this book are complicated, with motives that are sometimes obvious and other times completely unexpected. I liked the way that each of the players in this story had a different background that influenced their behavior.

This story takes place in Minneapolis, mostly in the downtown area and I really like the way that the overhead covered walkways became such an integral part of the action. A foot chase in the winding corridors of downtown is definitely intriguing. I have come to really enjoy Mindy Mejia’s books as this is the 3rd one I’ve read now. I always find the stories to be complex, unexpected and mysterious. I appreciate the way she develops her characters and uses the landscape as a tool to enrich the story. So pick up this book, and spend a little time the Twin Cities.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Other books by Mindy Mejia:

“Fell Murder” by E.C.R. Lorac

“Fell Murder” by E.C.R. Lorac

First published in 1944 Fell Murder sees E.C.R. Lorac at the height of her considerable powers as a purveyor of well-made, traditional and emphatic detective fiction. The book presents a fascinating ‘return of the prodigal’ mystery set in the later stages of the Second World War amidst the close-knit farmerfolk community of Lancashire s lovely Lune valley.

The Garths had farmed their fertile acres for generations and fine land it was with the towering hills of the Lake Country on the far horizon. Garthmere Hall itself was old before Flodden Field, and here hot-tempered Robert Garth, still hale and hearty at eighty-two, ruled his household with a rod of iron. The peaceful dales and fells of the north country provide the setting for this grim story of a murder, a setting in fact which is one of the attractive features of an unusual and distinctive tale of evil passions and murderous hate in a small rural community.

I loved this mystery! This is the second classic crime that I’ve read from this author and the writing is just so rich and descriptive that I just feel like I’m there on the farm with the characters. And the Garth family is a fascinating group of personalities. This is a shorter book than the mysteries we get today but it really packs a punch and lacks not at all in twists and turns. The villain is not immediately obvious and the means of murder are vicious. This story has everything a good mystery should have and I highly recommend it. If you’ve never tried a classic crime novel E.C.R. Lorac is a great place to start.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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“Give the Devil His Due” by Sulari Gentill

“Give the Devil His Due” by Sulari Gentill

Rowland Sinclair Mystery Series #7

Wealthy Rowland Sinclair, an artist with leftist friends and a free-wheeling lifestyle, reluctantly agrees to a charity race. He’ll drive his beloved yellow Mercedes on the Maroubra Speedway, renamed the Killer Track for the lives it has claimed. His teammates are a young Errol Flynn and the well-known driver Joan Richmond. It’s all good fun. But then people start to die…

The body of a journalist covering the race is found murdered in a House of Horrors. An English blueblood with Blackshirt affiliations dies in a Maroubra crash. Reporters stalk Rowly for dirt while bookmakers are after an edge. When someone takes a shot at him—it could be anyone. Then the police arrest one of Rowly’s housemates for murder.

This is the second book I’ve read from this series and I have to say that the character of Rowland Sinclair and his various companions continue to grow on me. Ms. Gentill has crafted some incredible personalities for the lead characters which all work together to keep the reader engaged and at times on the edge of their seat. While this book is not a thriller it does contain some harrowing moments, this time centered around a racetrack which by its very nature is a threat to life and limb. There’s also a coven of witches coming out to play and complicate the mystery, and a quirky young lady trying get break in to the art world. Although I was never a big fan of the actor Errol Flynn, his appearance in this story helps to draw you into the time period. Overall, I found this to be a fun romp through Australia in the years between the wars and look forward to more installments in this series.

Alinefromabook’s rating:   Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

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Other books in this series:



“Kindness Goes Unpunished” by Craig Johnson

“Kindness Goes Unpunished” by Craig Johnson

Narrated by George Guidall

Book 3 in the Walt Longmire Series

The Blurb:

Walt Longmire has been Sheriff of Absaroka County, Wyoming, for almost a quarter of a century, but when he joins his good friend Henry Standing Bear on a trip to the City of Brotherly Love to see his daughter, Cady, he’s in for a shock. Walt hasn’t even put his boots up when Cady is viciously attacked and left near death on the steps of the Franklin Institute. He soon discovers that she has unwittingly become involved in a deadly political cover-up. Backed by Henry, Dog, Deputy Victoria Moretti, and the entire Moretti posse of Philadelphia police officers, Walt unpacks his saddlebag of tricks to mete out some Western-style justice.

My Thoughts:

Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear in Philadelphia! Talk about fishes out of water. But these two will do anything for Walt’s daughter Cady, including tracking down the bad guys who put Cady in the hospital. This particular story is my favorite so far in this series. Walt gets to meet up with Vic’s family and they are a delightful bunch and helpful too since a couple of them are on the police force. In the process of finding the guy who put Cady in the hospital, Walt is instrumental in uncovering a major crime ring. Craig Johnson’s characters continue to fascinate me with their broad range of personalities. George Guidall has once again delivered a fantastic narration. If you like your mysteries rugged than you can’t go wrong with this series.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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