Category: mystery


Brambleman by Jonathan Grant


Kathleen Talton was getting old, already suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. Her husband, Thurwoood Talton, a retired Georgia State University history professor, died while trying to get his manuscript Flight from Forsyth published. He was hit in the head by a beer bottle throwing youth while marching for for civil rights in Forsyth County. Thurwood died a week later, and Kathleen believed it was caused by the youth who threw the bottle. Kathleen waited many years then decided she needed to have her husband’s work completed and published. So she did something she hasn’t done in years, she prayed. Not for forgiveness, not for happiness and not many of the things most people pray for. She asked for justice, companionship, vengeance, completion and closure. It was a most interesting prayer!


Charlie Sherman, father of 14 year old Ben and daughter Rebecca (Beck), has been a stay at home dad for a long time. He had opted to stay at home so he could write his book. Prior tho staying home he had been a freelance writer and an editor. His wife Susan, supported his decision because she made more money at her job then he did, and that mattered a lot to her. The problem was, nothing Charlie wrote got published and Susan was sick of him. After a bitter dispute with his wife, his daughter had called the cops because she was afraid. Charlie got his butt kicked out of the house and concluded that Susan had wanted him gone for a long time.


Walking in the rain, extremely upset, Charlie has a George Bailey moment. (George Bailey is a character from classic film It’s a Wonderful Life, my all time favorite movie) and gets ready to jump from an overpass. A strange, seemingly random accident below him on the road has him realizing that if he takes his life, he won’t see anymore weird stuff. Deciding to think things through a little more, he heads off for some peace, guiet and coffee. Instead he finds Trouble, though who and what he is Charlie’s not sure of. And boy does Trouble SMELL!


When Trouble tells Charlie he has a job for him to do he finds himself agreeing to go and meet Kathleen. She hires him to finish up and publish her husband’s manuscript and he can stay at her house in the basement well he does so. Charlie is a little leery but finally agrees and signs a contract. He figures things can’t get much weirder, boy is he wrong!


Things aren’t just weird anymore, they’re Old Testament weird! People were dying; Kathleen’s daughter got boils after upsetting her mom, as did a pharmacist; burning buildings and, the kicker for Charlie, the contract he originally signed to complete Kathleen’s husband book, the ink had turned to blood and if Charlie tried to get out of it, he paid with his life.


You’d think with all this going on, Charlie would have enough to deal with but no. His wife Susan and the rest of her crazy relatives were all somehow tied in to Charlie’s mess with the manuscript. Charlie has to think fast and move faster before something else bad happens. There is way, way more in store for Charlie, his wife Susan, her nutty family, Kathleen and Trouble. What does Trouble really want?And the biggest problem of all is Charlie knows that good and evil are somehow involved in all this, but what side is Charlie actually working for and how will he find out? Will Charlie survive? Will anyone survive?


I found myself reading faster and faster as the story twisted and turned more and more. I really enjoyed the pace and the story in a story aspect that came out of the manuscript that Charlie had to edit. Some of the characters are just that, characters! Good, bad, hicks and politicians, men and women and children all had interesting thoughts and actions. My only real complaint was the length of the novel. While it held my attention all the way through, there were times I thought things could have been said just as well with several less words or pages. All in all though a good albeit long read.


Please note that some people might be offended due to certain events, certain groups including the Klu Klux Klan and certain demeaning and racist remarks depicted in the novel but they are used to show what had actually happened in Forsyth County throughout the 20th century.


I received this eBook through LibraryThing and was asked for my honest review.

Bad Luck And Trouble (Jack Reacher, #11) View a preview of this book online

Bad Luck And Trouble (Jack Reacher #11) by Lee Child




Jack Reacher, ex military policeman, lives off the grid. He has no cell phone, no address, and no belongings outside of his folding toothbrush. He’s happy in his solitude until he receives a coded message from an old military comrade, Frances Neagley. She took a lot of trouble to track him down, using his bank account to send a cry for help.

When Jack reaches Los Angeles, he tracks Neagley to a Denny’s restaurant. She’s waiting for him as she knew he would track her there. She imparts some very disturbing news, one of their former investigators in their unit is dead. It was not a pretty death, and as an autopsy later confirmed, he had been tortured, starved and beaten prior to being thrown alive out of a helicopter. Neagley reminds Reacher of their pledge ‘You do not mess with the Special Investigators’

When Neagley and Reacher try to contact the remaining members of their former special investigators unit, the worry latches up a notch, with each unanswered phone call. None of their old unit is answering, where are they? Are they all missing? Or are they all dead?

When O’Donnell and then Dixon show up in Los Angeles, they unite with Neagley and Reacher. With the discovery of another body, and no contact with the remaining team, they realize that someone is after their team, and doing a pretty good job of it.

As the team delves deeper and deeper into the events leading up to their friends demises, they realize that what they have discovered points to a major threat to nation security, with the possibility of thousands of deaths.

The team races to save the country and two more of their own are now gone. Will they hand the problem over to the FBI and Homeland Security or will they decide the lives of two more of their own are worth more? With time quickly running out will they be able to save their friends or will they lose them and more?

This is a great stand alone book. I love the pace, the action starts at the beginning and continues to grow as the book moves quickly along. The tension gets tighter and tighter, the characters more nervous and unsure of themselves. The scenes are very well written, very descriptive and colorful. The characters, even the bad guys, are 3 dimensional and believable. What makes this book even more of a heart pounder is the believability of what is happening and what could potentially happen. An awesome read!


The Colors of Malent: Book One View a preview of this book online

The Colors of Malent: Book One (The Colors of Malent #1)

by Tim Adams and  Sam Inzerillo




Alara is a 14 year old girl, almost 15, who has the normal trials and tribulations of teens everywhere. Alara’s best friend Madison or Mads as Alara calls her, is already a pro shopper with tons of attitude. Alara’s new boyfriend  Alex is a good looking jock who really seems to like her but doesn’t always understand her. Her freaky teenaged next door neighbor Freddy, incredibly smart but socially awkward, suddenly starts talking to her.



Alara’s busy and tension filled life is further complicated by the strange dreams that have haunted her since she can remember. Dreams that are getting weirder and weirder. They take her to another time and place where she enters the minds and bodies of the people she comes across.



Slowly she realizes that she can control the thoughts and actions of these people and she believes these people and places are real and are from a place called Malent. The bigger problem though is that these dreams are starting to come when she is awake too. And if  all this isn’t enough to deal with, she has just found out something about herself that shocks her to the core!



As Alara tries to discover who the strange people in her dreams are and where Malent is, she is also trying to discover something about herself. Her questions bring her into contact with new people who could be friends or enemies. Things seem to be constantly changing and it leaves Alara wondering who she exactly she can trust.



The ending will leave you holding your breath, impatient for the next book to continue with this very intriguing story!



I really enjoyed this novel. The twists and turns keep you flipping the pages, faster and faster, as you try to see what will happen next.



The characters in Alara’s life are very believable. Her parents are typical parents, with her dad being the loud disciplinarian and her mom understanding the problems of being a teenaged girl. Her friends are very real. The situations are what many teens go through.



The people from Malent, the alternate world of Alara’s,  are reminiscent of the our world but from many centuries ago. The strange, scary animals that inhabit the lands are definitely not of our world and are incredibly imaginative.



The way the story switches between our world and Malent is extremely well done. I really look forward to the next book in this YA fantasy series.

The Wardens of Punyu (The Handover Mysteries)

The Wardens of Punyu (The Handover Mysteries #1)  by D.L. Kung


In 1996, Claire Raymond is a smart, shrewd former journalist running the Hong Kong branch of a business magazine. Claire was born in the States but has lived in Hong Kong since the ’70’s. With her job, her hair color (in Chinese mythology red hair spelled demon), and her height, at 5’10” she was taller than many Asian men, she had a difficult time with long term relationships.


Claire’s friend, Father Fresnay, has sent a man to talk to Claire. This man, a doctor,  tells a very strange and if true, an incredibly gruesome story involving the trafficking of viable human organs for transplant. What she hears is very unsettling but there is just this man’s word and no collaborating evidence and she has a lot on her plate.  Her New York deadline is looming and her reporter hasn’t shown up, nor did he make an interview he had scheduled. Before she can look into the strange story the doctor has told her, she must find her reporter Vic. She has Cecilia, her Chinese assistant, send out feelers about the story, to see if any of her journalist friends have heard about this organ trafficking story. She needs to track down her wayward reporter Vic.


Instead of Vic, Claire finds Chris Hager, her magazine’s Bangkok stringer. A stringer is a reporter that works freelance, usually for several different papers and magazines.  Claire’s not sure what he’s doing in Hong Kong, in Vic’s room, but he gives her the old song and dance. She eventually gets a message, supposedly from Vic, saying he’s fine, had taken a little holiday, but now due to extreme traffic, and tourists, he will be delayed getting back. As he often comes up with excuses, Claire is not surprised.


A few days later, Claire goes for a hike with 2 of her friends. A body washes up on a nearby shore, badly damaged by marauding sharks, and a single bullet hole. Worse yet, Claire catches a glimpse of the man, its one of her reporters!


After an autopsy, and a meet with other interested parties at the embassy, Claire is informed that one of her reports was spotted in China, which is horrible news! The embassy can’t help him because they have such a fragile relationship with China. Claire is given a surprising suggestion.


With the death of one of her male reporters, and having to sneak into China (if the Chinese find out she’s entered without the proper journalist papers, it could result in a major incident) to get the other reporter out, Claire’s time is running out. But as Claire soon finds out, things are just getting interesting.


This has a great locale, very well described, right down to the bricks on the streets, credible and likeable characters (I can picture Cecilia in my mind easily), and an interesting mystery. I had really high hopes for this book because of the different locale and a rather gruesome mystery but it just didn’t grab me tight. I would still give it a read as the author has a beautiful way of describing the locales, the scenes and the people.

The Beautiful Mystery

The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel

The Beautiful Mystery: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel



Can you hear that? The pure, clear beloved sound fills his ears, enters his mouth and starts to move through his body. He’s at peace now, all worries gone, nothing matters to him but the music of the plainchant. Nothing!


When Frere Mathieu was found murdered the case was assigned to Chief Inspector Gamache and Inspector Jean-Guy Beauvoir. Theirs is a relationship that has been forged through time and gun battles. Beauvoir would lay his life down for the chief but still Beauvoir can’t tell the chief everything and he’s getting more and more concerned the Chief will find out.


Traveling by float plane then into a small fishing boat, Gamache and Beauvoir get farther and farther away for civilization, with no real idea of where they are.


Opening the door at the monastery doesn’t happen, but today it did. Dom Philippe, the abbot has reported that one of his monks has been murdered. Now its up to Gamache and Beauvoir  to figure this out before it hits the media because these aren’t just any monks. These ones are already famous and just want to be left alone. But the mystery is only the top layer, its what s below that’s going to break this case.


A lot of work and research went into this book. The information was passed on to us the readers in such a way that it felt like a story, not a history lesson. The characters felt like real people because they all had good and little bad in them.  And the mystery will keep you guessing as it quietly glides through the twisting, musty halls and rooms of the old monastery


Before I received this ARC, I have to admit I had never read anything by Louise Penny. I don’t even have a reason as I do love a good mystery. But I am so happy that I received this one! I really enjoyed this. I would definitely recommend it.


The Beautiful Mystery is just what it says it is The Beautiful Mystery!



I received this ARC through GoodReads and was asked for my honest review

Elemental Magic

Elemental Magic by Angela Wallace



Aileen Donovan isn’t just a research scientist at the Undina Research Center in Westport Washington who happens to be attractive and available.  Nor is she just Seamus’ daughter nor just Keenan’s sister. She is an elemental, a supernatural being tasked with caring for the earth and its animals. Very few know of her secret life as an elemental, and its a secret that must be kept safe!

Aileen is a water elemental and as such she has learned how to harness her powers to use the water but she is young, still an apprentice and it certainly doesn’t help that the very animals she is tasked to protect make her the butt of their jokes.

When her Coast Guard friend Colin, whom knows nothing of elementals,  asks for her help as a researcher to locate a ship that has been declared lost Aileen agrees to help.

With the power of a whirlpool, Aileen’s life has suddenly spun out of control…and not just in the elemental world!

This was a very engaging read. Quick paced story, with a few twists and turns, throw in some romance as well as great characters and that makes for a book that is hard to put down. I will definitely be reading the next in the series.

Dry Spell (Elemental Magic #2)

Dry Spell (Elemental Magic #2) by Angela Wallace

I am not much of a movie watcher (although I will admit to having a weakness for those really, really bad B-movies from the late 40’s into the early 70’s, especially if they have creatures or aliens…you get the picture) I do however love episodic books.


Explosive Eighteen is the 18th (actually if you include the 4 between-the-numbers books its 22) Stephanie Plum novel. It follows the exploits of a well intentioned, though fairly inept female bounty hunter in Trenton, New Jersey.




Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum, #18) View a preview of this book online

Explosive Eighteen (Stephanie Plum #18) by Janet Evanovich




As she tries to bring in skips (people who make bail using her cousin’s bail bond service and then fail to appear at the scheduled court date) there are some amusing situations that can and do arise. With Lulu, her coworker, usually by her side (or on their backsides as the case may be) they cruise around Trenton dating, fighting, shopping and trace skipping. Who are the jokers who show up at her door? Are they for real or is this someone’s idea of a practical joke? Vinnie’s a weasel, Joyce is a bitch but who are the rats? And oh, what, oh what, is Stephanie going to do about Ranger and Morelli?


Now here is my dilemma. As a book in the Stephanie Plum series, I was disappointed. It was at times romantic, humorous, mysterious and yet so, so just a repeat of previous books. There was no real character development over previous books, no new action scenes that hadn’t previously been used (though with other names or species), and no real new romantic developments either. As a book in the series, I rate it a 3.


Now if I take away the ‘book in a series’ aspect, I liked it quite a bit more. The characters are crazy and funny, the situations are sometimes tense, sometimes romantic and again sometimes puzzling, but again it reads better if you take away the series aspect. If I were to rate it as a stand alone book, discarding the previous novels in the series, I would rate it a 4.


So overall if you’re looking for a light, romance with some slapstick comedy and action scenes this would be a good book to read. I do know that this an unusual way to review a book but those are my thoghts. I have enjoyed the Stephanie Plum books just a little less each time. I would have loved some, heck any, growth by the characters. I do adore Lula. I don’t care that she was once a whore as they say , she is a great comedic relief. I just wish her character would develop more as well.

The Lost City of the Condor

The Lost City of the Condor by Vickie Britton  & Loretta Jackson



Arla Vaughn is an assistant Dean at the Chicago University. At the end of the month, she is to join her friend Lance Hayden, head of the archaeology department at the university, in Peru. She hasn’t been able to reach him for a few weeks and is growing more concerned as each day passes. When she is called to Chicago Memorial Hospital by Ted Langston, a man she has never met and who has been hit by an unknown driver, her concern turns to dread.  She is given a deathbed commission by this man, entrusted with information that is imperative to Lance, if she can find him alive.

Traveling to Peru early, she is waylaid and kidnapped by thugs who want the information she has. She is rescued and left at the police station, but she doesn’t know who she can trust. The situation gets red-hot as more people enter the picture. Arla has to trust someone but is she trusting the right person?

From the start, the book drew me in. An interesting locale, a feisty smart heroine and a good mystery story that keeps you guessing until the end are some of the highlights.

I didn’t like that Arla, who is supposedly a smart woman, would trust some of the people that she did. With what was happening in the story, that didn’t make sense to me.

I did love the diversity of characters, the Peruvian locale and the knowledge of Peruvian culture and people who were an integral part of the story.

The Man Who Crossed Worlds

The Man Who Crossed Worlds by Chris Strange



A few years before Miles Franco was born the Bores showed up. No one knows for sure what caused them or why they were there, but the governments soon found ways to use them. They’ve found a way to make “tunnels” to another dimension. The place they call Heaven is anything but. Filled with a race of creatures similar to humans but with a much different perception of reality, it is the perfect place to smuggle things from, but there’s so much more to it. No one really knows the full depth of the tunnels and what can come from them.

Miles Franco is a freelance tunneler. He has a certain code of ethics that, while it doesn’t include working for gangsters, it also doesn’t include working for the cops. So when the cops pick him up on a trumped up charge he knows something is up. Something big, or why would they be bothering with him.

Blackmailed into helping the cops, Miles must call on all his powers as a tunneler. When things sped out of control, and his city and friends get pulled into the mess that is now Miles’ life, its time for him to make his stand.

A great urban fantasy mystery novel! With an interesting new theme, creepy new race and a so-not-a-hero hero, this is a fun, fast paced, twisty read. I look forward to reading more of Miles Franco and his world, starting with the short story The Man Who Couldn’t be Bought.



I received my copy through LibraryThing and was asked for my honest review.

Against All Enemies View a preview of this book online

Against All Enemies (Max Moore #1) by Tom Clancy, Peter Telep



This novel started with such promise! Spies spying, good guys, bad guys, bullets flying and then the reader finds out that our main protagonist, Maxwell Moore, isn’t just your everyday upstanding, smart, handsome ex Navy Seal paramilitary operations officer for he has something, its a secret (I know what a surprise right?) but wait it gets better, its a deep, dark, never told anyone, secret that he has.



So for the next 400 pages (the softcover edition I have is 709 pages) this secret keeps popping into his head at the most inopportune times but instead of using that to build up the story it dragged it on and on and on, until I had to stop reading. This happened several times. Story is moving right along and boom, instant interruption, it just slowed the pace to molasses. And then finally on page 426 we’re told his secret which, when you considered all the people, bad guys and good guys, he had killed in his career, it really didn’t explain well enough for me anyway, why so much time and plot advancement was put into this when that was it, gone! Just suddenly didn’t matter anymore. At the very end, after 300 pages of silence about it, all he says is I’ll always feel guilty. This subplot made the protagonist not more human,loving or understandable but made him seem like a big and I mean really big whiner. It was just so out of place in this book.



But that certainly wasn’t the only issue with this monotonous book…we had all the acronyms you can think of, there was the TSA, GAO, DHS, CIA, FBI ATF, SVTCs, NCTC, BOLO, FAA, CNN, KFC (yup even Colonel Sanders Kentucky Fried Chicken made it in)…and these we’re all on 2 pages. It would have taken much to long to list all the acronyms listed in this book.



I’m afraid I could sit here all day tearing this book apart for various other problems, sub plots that start and go no where, and inconsistencies (my personal favorite being: “The pilot knew he’d lose precious altitude if he started a turnaround with only 1 working engine”and then 1 paragraph later and no explanation given This is Captain Ethan Whitman. As most of you know we’ve lost an engine but plan to make our turn and head back to the airport” there is more but doesn’t explain why the captain suddenly changes his mind. Just one more thing about this book that made no logical sense, but I just want to put this horrible book behind me.



You know, I have only ever not finished 1 book before, ever, and that was “—and Ladies of the Club” and this book was almost as bad. I think when you have 2 writers contributing to one story, they have to really be in sync. I think there were 2 writers, with 2 different views for the same book and couldn’t pull it together into one harmonious novel.



Now for a little positive thinking:

Would I read another Tom Clancy novel? Definitely!
Would I recommend any of his other novels that I have read? Absolutely
I don’t believe I can recall reading anything else by Peter Telep but I certainly would give his writing another try.
Would I recommend this book to anyone? Hmmmm. Nope, there is no one I dislike enough to suggest they try and slog through that horrible, horrible book.

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