Tag: #NetGalley

“The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz

“The Crooked Staircase” by Dean Koontz

A Jane Hawk Novel #3

Looking for non-stop action? Look no further. Reading a Jane Hawk book is like riding a roller-coaster, in a good way. Jane is still hot on the trail of the conspirators who are taking over people’s minds. As she gets closer, the danger begins to spread to those closest to her. But Jane has a way to turn the tables. Armed with the mind control device, Jane uses one of their own against the conspirators and unravels some of their darkest secrets. Meanwhile, those being controlled continue to wreak havoc, and Jane’s son is hidden from view. Can Jane bring these people down, or will they get to her and her loved ones first?

This continues to be a compelling series that feels like it’s all too real. Jane is like a one-man army as she continues to undermine the organization while staying just under their radar. We get to know her son a little more in this book and he is a great kid. As usual, there is a cast of side characters, good and bad, who make Jane’s work possible. I especially enjoyed the Shukla twins in this one. I continue to be surprised by the complexity of the plot in these books. Dean Koontz is a best-selling author for good reason. His stories are carefully crafted and his characters are well-developed and believable. I am a huge fan of this series and can’t wait for book 4 later this year.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

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“A Gentleman’s Murder” by Christopher Huang

“A Gentleman’s Murder” by Christopher Huang

London, the 1920’s. The first World War is over but the after-effects are still being felt. Especially among the men who survived, many of whom are now members of the Britannia Club. Eric Peterkin is one of these men. The men of his family have been members since the club originated and they have all been highly respected by their peers. Eric has just recently been admitted and is still adjusting to civilian life after serving in Flanders during the war. One evening another new member makes a wager with one of the board members that the club’s vault cannot be broken into. Unfortunately for him, he will end up dead by morning on the floor of that same vault. Eric can’t help but notice some suspicious things going on with the investigation and decides to look into the matter himself. This may turn out to be more dangerous than war.

This story has a very clever plot line that definitely makes the reader work to figure out who the culprit is. The story also really captures the time period of the mid-1920’s. Eric Peterkin is a very likable character, young and handsome. His sister Penny, though, was my favorite. She is a secondary character but I found her absolutely delightful. There are a whole host of former military men involved in this mystery and each has a unique personality and story which adds depth to the story. The only thing I didn’t like about this book is the periodic flashbacks to the war. I found the descriptions to be disturbing, though they did add to my understanding of the story and the characters. So, if you are sensitive about such topics you might not enjoy this book. However, if you enjoy historical mysteries I think this is a good one for you.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“The Naked Nuns” by Colin Watson

“The Naked Nuns” by Colin Watson

Are there really nuns running around naked in Flaxborough? Suspicious, coded letters have been received by the police which point to a murder soon to be committed in Flaxborough. Word comes down to Inspector Purbright and he begins the thankless search for who the victim is to be. Meanwhile, a local businessman receives a threatening letter. He is offered protection but doesn’t seem to take the situation very seriously. Then there’s the suspicious character who turns up at Miss Teatime’s. A friend of a friend he claims to be, but when his dark past comes to light he is suspect #1. When it all comes to a head, all the answers will be revealed.

This is book 8 in the Flaxborough Mysteries series. I think this is my least favorite story so far. While the writing is classic Colin Watson, I found the story overall to be kind of messy and it felt like it could have been structured a little better. That being said, all my favorite characters are back: Inspector Purbright, Seargeant Love, Miss Teatime and Chief Constable Chubb. The secondary characters didn’t seem as compelling as in some of the other books. Overall, I found this one a little disappointing.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  3-5-star-rating 3.5 stars!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

“Gods of Howl Mountain” by Taylor Brown

“Gods of Howl Mountain” by Taylor Brown

Rory has returned from the Korean war having lost one leg while there. He’s living with his grandmother on Howl Mountain. Rory’s history is troubled. He was born to an unwed mother while she was in a psychiatric facility, a facility she continues to live in. His grandmother raised me on the mountain, making a living for them by providing traditional remedies to the community. Rory is making money by running whiskey for family friend Eustace. Then Rory has a run-in with the Muldoons, who threaten his life, the county sheriff, who threatens his liberty, and the beautiful Christine, who turns his heart upside down.

This is a beautifully crafted story of life in the mountains of North Carolina. The author carefully reveals to us the challenges that Rory faces as he tries to build a life for himself and deal with the scars, physical and emotional, left him by the war. The descriptions in this story are rich and full of color, and they really draw you into the environment of Howl Mountain. The characters are each unique and complex, hiding a variety of secrets and revealing very little. The story reveals how government actions in the mountains have affected the lives and spirits of the people who live there, and how sometimes the mountain is more menacing than beautiful. This is a story of survival and a story of hope.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-5-star-rating  4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Miss Seeton Flies High” by Hamilton Crane

“Miss Seeton Flies High” by Hamilton Crane

Let me introduce you to Miss Seeton. She is the 1970’s answer to Miss Marple. In this installment of the series, Miss Seeton is asked to design the sets for the annual school Christmas play. This year the story will be about King Arthur and in order to be inspired Miss Seeton travels to the West country to visit the historical sites. Meanwhile, her friend Chief Superintendent Delphick and a kidnapping to deal with and he needs some insight. Miss Seeton is well known at Scotland Yard for the pictures she draws that contain clues to crimes, so Delphick pays her a visit. Several drawings and a hot air balloon ride later Delphick is finally closing in on his suspect and Miss Seeton has new project.

This was a delightful little story. Miss Seeton is a charming character is like Miss Marple before her is more that she appears to be. This is not the first in the series but it stands on its own just fine. The plot has some really nice twists and a few red herrings to keep the reader guessing. My favorite part of the book is how well the author portrays the time period. I can’t quite tell you how but the feel of the 70’s really comes through. There are hippies, and illegal marijuana growing. There’s the clash between the older and younger generations of the time. Finally, there are the references to the legend of King Arthur and the historical sites related to the stories. All of this combined to make a very engaging story. I think this book will be especially enjoyable for cozy mystery lovers.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

“The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist” by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

“The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist” by Radley Balko and Tucker Carrington

A True Story of Injustice in the American South

President Lincoln freed the slaves but he couldn’t possibly anticipate how the justice system in the American South would work to continue to oppress them. In this book, the authors expose the institutionalized corruption within the state of Mississippi. They begin with two cases of wrongful incarceration and move into the history of the legal system within the state and the difficulties that have been encountered in trying to establish a medical examiner system. The book serves to expose two people in particular, Dr. Steven Hayne, who performs the majority of the autopsies for the state for over two decades, and Dr. Michael West, a country dentist. The both built careers for themselves in forensics, taking full advantage of the good-ol’-boy structure of the legal environment in the state.

I found this book both sad and compelling. It is always sad for me to be confronted by corruption in America. We call ourselves a Christian nation but too often there are very un-Christian things happening. I also found the tenacity and persistence of the victims of this system to be very compelling. The two wrongly convicted murderers, one of whom spent years on death row, did not give up and neither did their Project Innocence defense teams. In the process of working to free these two men they helped to expose the doctors whose actions had created the sole source of evidence against many wrongfully convicted defendants. I think this book serves as a good reminder that while our justice system may be good it is not always perfect and it is not free from the risk of corruption. If more people had this awareness perhaps improvement could be made at a more rapid pace. I really enjoyed reading this book. It’s written in a way that is appealing to a broad range of readers and the story moves at a really nice pace. This is a top-notch expose and I highly recommend it.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

This book was provided by NetGalley and Perseus Books in exchange for an honest review.

“Broomsticks Over Flaxborough” by Colin Watson

“Broomsticks Over Flaxborough” by Colin Watson

It’s been a couple weeks since I visited Flaxborough and I just had to check and see what Inspector Purbright is up to. Well, he certainly has his hands full in this story with witches and Lucies and dead store managers. Once again, Colin Watson does not disappoint. When Edna Hillyard disappears and Mr. Persimmon is found dead, both after a night of dancing with the local witches’ coven, Purbright and Sgt. Love and hot on the trail of the culprit. Miss Teatime is also making herself useful with some inside knowledge into local going-on. And because it’s the 60’s there are Lucies going door-to-door asking questions. I’m not going to say any more about the Lucie’s because you really need to read the book and experience them for yourself. This is book 7 in the series and one of the best so far. Any of the books in this series will make a great summer read.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon CA

P.S. The Kindle edition is only 99 cents on Amazon US right now!

“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

Blog Tour Book Review: “Pendle Fire” by Paul Southern

Blog Tour Book Review: “Pendle Fire” by Paul Southern

John Malkin is an overworked social worker. His girlfriend has just become pregnant with their first child but the job stress is starting to come between them. One of John’s cases is Nathan, a young man who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Just as Nathan has landed himself in jail, again, John is asked to investigate two girls who have just reported having been raped by a local police officer. Both Nathan and one of the girls warn him that he is in danger and that a prophecy has named him as the “chosen” one. John knows nothing about this prophecy but strange things are happening and he is determined to get to the bottom of it. Meanwhile, Shaf, a Pakistani police officer in the local force, has rescued the two girls after they were attacked by strange men, but the girls lied and blamed him. His boss has suspended him pending an investigation, but later asks him to conduct a secret investigation for him. There are rumors of local gangs “grooming” girls, and race riots are breaking out all over the region. The police force is stretched to the breaking point and DC Ali thinks someone in the force is involved. All roads seem to lead to the “Hobbledy Man”, but who is he and what does he want?

I couldn’t wait to read this book because I had so enjoyed the author’s first book. I was not disappointed. The story is very intense with a lot of different things happening that seemingly have no connection except for the legend of the “Hobbledy Man”. The narration goes back and forth between John, who’s trying to help the kids, and Shaf, who is trying to clear his name. I really liked both of these characters. John is so well-intentioned but as his paranoia grows his actions become more and more erratic. Shaf is trying to be the kind of person that his father was, but soon finds his principles being tested at every turn. The plot line is many-layered but it all works together really well. There are some very graphic scenes of sex and violence which some readers may not like but they do work within the story. This book has elements of the supernatural, the presence of a very active cult, violent gangs, and issues of race relations. Some of the content is disturbing but overall I found this to be another excellent story from Paul Southern.

Alinefromabook’s rating:   4 stars!!

Happy Reading!4-star-rating

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

Pendle Fire Blog Blitz

“Bump in the Night” by Colin Watson

“Bump in the Night” by Colin Watson

Time for another visit to Flaxborough County! This is book 2 in the series and this time around we have a serial bomber in the village of Chalmesbury. After 3 bomb attacks the local council requests the help of Inspector Purbright in tracking down the perpetrator. But just as he’s getting started a 4th bomb results in a murder. Turns out not many people liked the victim and the list of suspects includes just about everybody. Purbright must use all his cunning to sort out the facts from the rumors if he’s going to get his man.

I am still delighted with Inspector Purbright. The author doesn’t offer anything in the way of background, at least not yet, but I just can’t help but be charmed. I especially enjoy reading his interrogation scenes, almost none of which take place in a police station. He’s very clever and casual with his question and always pull more out of his suspect than you would expect. The village of Chalmesbury is a hotbed of intrigue as it turns out and I got completely sucked in by the red herrings in this one. The ending was a complete surprise. I’m so glad this series is being re-released because it’s just such a pleasure to read.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Goodreads     |   Amazon CA

Thank you to NetGalley and Farrago for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review.