Category Archives: Books

A Little Night Murder by Nancy Martin

A Little Night MurderA Little Night Murder by Nancy Martin is the 10th book in the “Blackbird Sisters” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, August 2014

Murder under the stars….
Nora Blackbird—pregnant at last!—is spending summer afternoons wallowing in the Bucks County pool of her best friend, Lexie Paine, who has just been released from prison. At night, Nora is covering Philadelphia’s high-society events for the local newspaper. And this time she doesn’t have to look far for a good story.

Next door, a Broadway show is in rehearsal at the estate of Toodles Tuttle, the long-deceased but ever-legendary composer. Reigning over the estate is Toodles’s diva widow, Boom Boom. The demanding old broad still rules with an iron fist, and considering the chorus line of enemies she’s racked up over the years, her death has been a hotly anticipated event. So imagine everyone’s dismay when it’s her beloved daughter, Jenny, who drops dead—from a cause that is anything but natural—just as the lights are set to go on for the lucrative new Toodles musical.

Yet murder is only an overture to the drama to come….
Nora’s sister Libby, a soon-to-be-grandmother, has gotten herself into a sticky situation, wooed by both a lowly bug exterminator and a cheesecake-loving Broadway impresario. Edgy sister Emma has a dangerous new boyfriend who may jeopardize her show-jumping exploits. And the love of Nora’s life, Mick Abruzzo, has been desperate to prevent Nora from meeting the most notorious member of his mobbed-up family—his mother.

Now Nora has to deal with the bump-and-grind of her personal life, and also bring the curtain down on a daring killer—before he forces her to exit stage left, permanently.

I love it. Nancy has done it again by delivering a wonderfully crafted novel that I devoured from beginning to end. The mystery kept me interested as there were plenty of suspects to ferret but it was everything else that surrounded Nora and her pending motherhood that engaged and entertained me. The author did a great job in creating an atmosphere that made me feel that I was part of the drama unfolding within the pages of this delightfully friendly story. There were some surprises in store for Nora in this tome, but the biggest surprising twist came at the end and wow, that I never saw coming. The Blackbird sisters are back and doing what comes naturally to them; Mick is Mick and with Lexie back in the game and Bridget arriving on their doorstep, I can’t wait for the next book in this fantastically delightful series.

The Feathers by Cynthia Lott

The FeathersThe Feathers by Cynthia Lott is the first book in a crime thriller suffused with the supernatural. Publisher: Piscataqua Press, August 2014

Thomas Carpenter – dead for 100 years – returns in 1978 to avenge his murder. He proves a challenge for a New Orleans novice detective Brenda Shapira and her senior partner, Roy Agnew. When 35-year old Shapira discovers the first victim in the historic Garden District, the beginning of 1978 will be anything but ordinary. As she unravels this long ago mystery steeped in New Orleans history and the Yellow Fever epidemic, Brenda realizes that she may be Carpenter’s next victim.

The drama, the mystery, the murder, the significance, the need to know kept me glued to the pages as every action unfolded, whether in centuries past or present day 1978 in a grippingly display of a provocative thriller. The author did a great job in keeping the suspense high with every page turned. With a good plot, amid a backdrop of New Orleans, this was a good read.

The Cat, The Vagabond and The Victim by Leann Sweeney

The cat, the vagabond the victimThe Cat, The Vagabond and The Victim by Leann Sweeney is the sixth book in the “Cats in Trouble” mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, August 2014

Heir of the cat…

When Clyde the cat travels two hundred miles back home only to find his former owner dead, the story makes national news. While everyone seems eager to tell Clyde’s incredible tale, someone needs to step up to care for him. Because the media attention is creating chaos at the local shelter, cat quilter Jillian Hart agrees to foster the loyal orange tabby, hoping his location is kept secret.

But while the media circus around Clyde continues, Jillian learns the real story behind his owner’s death—he was murdered. Why would an eldery man already dying from a serious illness become a murder victim? As the local police search for an answer, Clyde makes another escape. Jillian is drawn into the case when she finds Clyde has returned to his home again—and he’s found another body. When the motive behind these murders is finally revealed, Jillian understands Clyde is in danger of becoming the next victim, and she must help find the killer before the claws really come out.

Leann continues to deliver a dynamic and light whodunit that always leaves me filled with warmth towards a diverse cast of characters that engaged and entertained me from the first page to a finale that I wanted to re-live over and over again. The tone was very comfortable and refreshing and I liked how easily the chapters flowed from one scene to the next in this mystery were the suspects were few with some surprises that culminated in an ending that picked up speed as the story came to a close. The small town atmosphere adds to the warmth of this character-driven drama as well as the dialogue between Jillian and those she encounters. This is the best one yet and I’m thrilled there is another book forthcoming in this delightfully charming series.

Expedition Indigo by Stacy Allen

Expedition IndigoExpedition Indigo by Stacy Allen is the first book in the new “Riley Cooper” mystery series. Publisher: Fiery Seas Publishing, August 2014

Archaeologist Riley Cooper is offered the chance of a lifetime: a chance to find the Crux Fidelis, the coronation cross of Charlemagne. Under Water Sea Adventures members believe they have found remains of the Indigo, a heavily laden cargo ship commissioned by Charlemagne and presumed lost on its maiden voyage off the coast of southern Italy in the early 800s. If Riley can find the cross, it will prove Charlemagne’s coronation as the First Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Leo III on Christmas Day had not been a spontaneous act, but rather a desperate political maneuver by a Pope in need of protection.

When Riley joins UWSA off the coast of Sorrento, Italy, tensions and tempers fly as a competing team arrives in search of the treasure and an approaching hurricane gains strength and heads straight toward the dive site. And when one of the crew is murdered, Riley must find the strength to fight back and keep the treasure out of the other team’s hands.

I like it. This was a nicely paced drama that the more I read, the more I became involved in the storyline that started in the States and ended on an oceanic dive in the Mediterranean filled with the intrigue of a treasure yet to be discovered as Riley Cooper explored nature’s beauty. The unfolding exploits kept me glued to the pages and that one twist that I did not see coming, made the story even more exciting as I had to know how it was all going to play out in the end. The author did a great job in visually describing each scene, putting me right in the middle of all the action as the frantic search and recovery hasten the plot to a crescendo above the ocean floor. The was a great read and I look forward to more exciting adventures with Riley.

Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance

Remains of InnocenceRemains of Innocence by J.A. Jance is the 16th book in the “Joanna Brady” suspense series. Publisher: William Morrow, July 2014

Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery.

An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner.

Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out.

When a beloved friend is found dead, suspicions abound and it will take careful police work to uncover the truth behind his death. Meanwhile another death befalls Cochise County and again, Joanna and her team will pull out everything necessary to close this case before another body turns up…dead.

This book was great and I love the fast-paced and action filled drama that kept me riveted to the pages as I had to know what happens next. The mystery was well done and I liked the style in which each chapter was presented taking us closer to the finale. The author did a great job in keeping the suspense fresh with some surprising twists that I did not see coming. Joanna is one of my favorite characters and is surrounded by a great ensemble cast of characters. This series continues to get better and better like fine wine and I’m looking forward to my next visit to Bisbee, Arizona.

Margaret Truman’s Undiplomatic Murder by Donald Bain

Undiplomatic MurderMargaret Truman’s Undiplomatic Murder by Donald Bain is the second book in the “Capital Crimes” series. Publisher: Forge, July 2014

Private investigator Robert Brixton has always hated Washington. Against his better judgment, he decides to stick around and take a job as an agent in a new State Department security agency headed by his former boss at the Washington P.D. After work one day he meets his youngest daughter, Janet, for a drink at an outdoor cafe. Shockingly, a young Arabic woman blows herself up, killing Janet and a dozen others. Seeking revenge for his daughter, Brixton follows the tracks of the bomber to a powerful senator’s son.

Brixton finds himself digging deep into what turns out to be a small but powerful cabal whose goal is to kill embassy workers from nations involved in the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. Donald Bain thrills again with Undiplomatic Murder, the riveting next installment in the Margaret Truman’s beloved Capital Crimes series.

I’m getting back to this series and I like it. The action is pulsatingly fast and the drama kept my adrenaline at a premium as I advanced towards the conclusion in this terrific read that quickly became a page-turner. The author did a great job in providing plenty of twists and turns that ratcheted the suspense and intrigue up several notches. The dialogue was engaging and the nation’s capital added to the thrill in this explosively riveting novel. I look forward to the next on in the series.

Three Dragons Doomed by Keith Donnelly

Three Dragons DoomedThree Dragons Doomed by Keith Donnelly is the fifth book in the “Donald Youngblood” mystery series. Publisher: John F. Blair, July 2014

Outside the small town of Saddle Boot, West Virginia, a bulldozer uncovers a long-buried body. Only four living people know it’s that of drifter Johnny Cross. But Johnny Cross was not who he appeared to be.

In the early-morning hours a few days later, in Mountain Center, Tennessee, a body is dumped in a downtown back alley, a young female dead less than twenty-four hours. Over the next few weeks, two more dead females turn up in East Tennessee. A serial killer with an unusual signature is on the loose.

The only thing that connects these events is private investigator Donald Youngblood. Don knows the identities of the body in West Virginia and the dead women dumped in East Tennessee. He also knows the bodies are personal messages for him from a killer seeking revenge. A new and deadly game has begun.

In this unique double sequel to Three Days Dead and Three Devils Dancing, Youngblood wrestles with two separate and distinct cases: finding the true identity of Johnny Cross and tracking down a serial killer who seems to be in a big hurry for a final showdown.

I really, truly love this series and I hope it never ends. Don is once again thrust into multiple investigations that become exceptionally personal and he tackles them with great aplomb. Of course, Don’s inner circle is back with Mary, Big Bob, Billy, T. Elbert, David and Lacy supporting him in his endeavors.

This fast-paced and action-filled drama quickly became a page-turner with its solid plot and a mystery that captured my attention from beginning to a finale worthy of Donald Youngblood. I love the pacing and how easily the chapters flow, pulling me deeply into each scene with anticipation of what will happen next. The author does a great job in delivering a dynamic tome that engages and entertains me with a perfect set-up and witty banter among the cast of characters. Don is so lovable and I adore his interactions with his family, friends and even his adversaries. This is the best book thus far in their terrific series and I can’t wait to see what exploits await Don and the gang.