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Book review crime fiction mystery reading

Read and Review (R&R) – Fatal Reunion by Annette Dashofy

Zoe and Pete are back! The latest Zoe Chambers Mystery, Fatal Reunion, is packed with action and plot twists that will keep you turning pages and wanting more Zoe and Pete when the book is done!

It’s Zoe’s 20th high school reunion and a lot of former classmates are back in town. When a young girl is found brutally murdered, the resemblances to the Monongahela Serial Killer case that was assumed closed years ago when Zoe and her best friend, Rose were seniors in high school is brought to the forefront of Zoe’s mind. In the capacity of the County Coroner, Zoe is in the middle of the investigation and the closer she and Pete get to solving the murder, the more personal the case becomes.

Dashofy’s characters are so well developed.  Her experience as a paramedic and her research into law enforcement, and the coroner’s office shine through in her writing.

Another complex, suspenseful mystery by Annette Dashofy.

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Book review inspiration reading Uncategorized

Read and Review (R&R) – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

A good friend of mine recommended, “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry.” It is South Fayette Library’s community read this month. I decided to read it, and I am glad I did. This book warmed my heart.

A sweet story about second chances.

Recently retired, Harold Fry has lived a life full of missed connections and poorly communicated emotions, but that is about to change when he receives a letter from a former co‑worker, Queeney Hennessy.

A quiet man in his later years, Harold cannot find the words to express to Queenie how he feels when he reads the letter. Queenie has cancer and it is terminal. Harold jots down a few quick words of encouragement on her cancer illness and impending death and heads to the mailbox to mail it. He gets to the first box and cannot bring himself to put the letter in the mail, so he walks on to the second, and the third. Before Harold knows it, he is making a pilgrimage 600 miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed dressed in trousers, a shirt, tie, and yachting shoes, with no maps and no cell phone. Harold believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live. Determined that his walk will somehow restore Queenie to health, he walks on. In doing so, he becomes a beacon of hope to people who are struggling with their own lives and problems.

This story was written in 2012 but the principles remain a true testament to the human spirit.

As Harold walks, he meets people who help him understand and restore his faith. He phones the care home where Queenie is being taken care of and tells them to tell her to have faith and stay alive until he arrives from his 600 mile walk.

Back at home, Harold has left behind his wife, Maureen, who is filled with worry that Harold is leaving her. She talks to her son, David and her neighbor who has experienced his own loss of his wife.

This unforgettable novel provides insight into the thoughts and feelings we all have in our hearts.

Written by Rachel Joyce this was her debut novel and she was awarded the “New Writer of the Year” award by the National Book Awards. It is well-written and allows plenty of food for thought.

Harold Fry manages to prove that you’re never too old to start fresh and make a change.

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Book review fiction mystery reading suspense Uncategorized

Read & Review (R&R) – “Dead Man’s Leap” by Tina de Bellegarde

It’s another intriguing and suspense-filled, character-driven mystery for Agatha Award nominee, Tina de Bellegarde. In her latest mystery, “Dead Man’s Leap,” the flood waters are washing away more than material possessions. In the tiny town of Batavia-on-Hudson, relationships are put to the test, a dead body, bones and long-buried secrets from the past all threaten to alter the quaint village life.

This is the author’s 2nd book of her series “Batavia -on Hudson Mystery,” and while it is not necessary to read her first book “Winter Witness,” it is helpful as you are familiar with the characters.

Her main character, Bianca St. Denis is teaming up again with Sheriff Mike Riley to solve the mystery. De Bellegarde vividly sets the scene, beautifully portrays love and loss and writes characters that jump off the page and into her reader’s hearts. I am looking forward to reading the next Bativa-on-Hudson Mystery.

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Book review crime fiction mystery psychological thriller reading suspense thriller Uncategorized

Read and Review (R&R) “Survive the Night” by Riley Sager

Riley Sager weaves a masterful tale of psychological suspense.

When Charlie’s parents are killed in a car accident, she turns to movies as a way of escaping real life. At college, Charlie becomes best friends with Maddy. But, one horrific night changes everything. Maddy has been killed by the “Campus Killer.” A serial killer who has killed three times before. Charlie can’t get over Maddy’s death and decides to leave campus before Thanksgiving accepting a ride from a male stranger who she meets at the ride-share board. As their ride ensues, Charlie begins to doubt the sincerity of the man. Could he be the campus killer or is her mistrust a figment of her movie-fueled imagination?

This book takes place in the 1990’s, when pay phones were the only way to check in with someone or call for help. No cell phones, no texting. The premise of a girl getting into a car with a stranger and things going wrong is nothing new and Sager presents it with a road trip story that is filled with twisted, unbelievable characters. To Riley Sager’s credit, I couldn’t put it down. It kept me on the edge of my seat with tension, intense emotion, and danger around every turn. I had to find out – would the campus killer be revealed? What would happen to Charlie?

Categories
Book review crime fiction history mystery reading suspense

Read and Review (R&R) – “The Lessons We Learn”

“The Lessons We Learn” by Liz Milliron

Betty Ahern – the bold, risk-taking PI with moxie, wit, and heart!

It’s March 1943, and Betty Ahern is back and taking on a case that is very personal. When Betty’s best friend, Lee is jailed for the murder of his father, Betty must prove his innocence and get justice for her friend.

Betty and Homicide Detective Sam McKinnon team up and together they investigate Blackie Thomas, a numbers and illegal gambling boss, and the men and women who do his bidding. Tracking down Buffalo’s seedy and corrupt characters is a challenge, but Betty is determined and will stop at nothing to question them in brave Betty style so she can solve the case before Lee’s court plea date.

“The Lessons We Learn” is story three in Liz Milliron’s Homefront Mystery Series. Milliron immerses you into the time period and holds you there. Her characters jump off the page – some into your heart, and some into the river.

A page-turner filled with mystery and history.

Categories
Book review cozy mysteries humorous fiction mystery reading suspense

Read and Review (R&R) – “The Deep End,” by Julie Mulhern

Picture perfect life in the 70s-except the murders

When a friend recommended Julie Mulhern’s Country Club Murders books, I had to check them out. I wasn’t disappointed. Julie has fifteen books in this series. I started with the first, “The Deep End,” which came out in 2015.

I loved this book! Julie Mulhern writes with great humor, wit, wonderful characters and a killer plot.

When Ellison Russell swims into the lifeless body of her husband’s mistress, she becomes the prime suspect in Madeline Harper’s death. A missing kinky husband with a vault full of secrets, a handsome detective, a well-to-do lawyer, and a mother who can’t keep her hands out of Ellison’s life, all add up to more trouble than Ellison can swim her way out of.

A laugh-out-loud whodunit!

Categories
Book review fiction reading

Read and Review (R&R) – “It Ends With Us” by Colleen Hoover

Our book club selection for this month is “It Ends With Us,” by Colleen Hoover.

If you are on BookTok, you already know there is a lot of buzz about this book.

I think the following words tell everything without posting spoilers in my review:

Powerful, inspiring, heart-wrenching, honest, raw, real-life, tough decisions, beautiful, unforgettable!

Colleen Hoover masterfully covers hot romance, devastating heartbreak, mental health and domestic violence in one novel.

“It Ends With Us” is a memorable read that I want to tell all my friends to pick up and I can guarantee, you won’t put it down.

Lilly Bloom is an unforgettable character and Colleen Hoover does an excellent job of bringing the readers along on Lilly’s journey. You discover the truths right alongside Lilly.

When I read the title, I was curious as to what it meant. When you read the book, and you get to the part where that is revealed, you will agree, it is the perfect title for this riveting book.

This book will leave a lasting mark on your heart.

Two of my favorite quotes from the book

That’s what fifteen minutes can do to a person. It can destroy them.
It can save them.

“It stops here. With me and you. It ends with us.”

Lastly, fingers crossed for the rumors that this book will be made into a movie.

Categories
Book review crime fiction humorous fiction mystery reading suspense

Read and Review (R&R) – “The Man Who Died Twice” by Richard Osman

“The Man Who Died Twice”
Richard Osman

This book was given to me in a book exchange with my local “Sisters in Crime” group. What a wonderful read. I loved this book and its characters, Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron, and Ibrahim.

What happens when four septuagenarians who live in the Cooper’s Chase retirement community band together and form a crime club (aka The Thursday Murder Club)? A heartwarming friendship, and a book filled with laugh-out-loud humor.

“I am learning that it is important to stop sometimes, and just have a drink and a gossip with your friends, even as corpses start to pile up around you.”

The narrative is split between all the characters mentioned above, but Joyce and Elizabeth play the largest roles.

With diamonds, Elizabeth’s ex-husband, the MI5, a cocaine dealer, crooked businessman, the mafia, local thugs, and piling up bodies, the members of the Thursday Murder Club have their hands full.

This is the second book in this series. The first is called “The Thursday Murder Club Mystery.”

Richard Osman has created a wonderful story line and I am anxiously awaiting the next novel with these characters.

Categories
Book review crime fiction mystery reading suspense thriller unreliable narrator

Read and Review (R&R) – “We Were Never Here” by Andrea Bartz

When two best friends travel, what could go wrong? How about a hookup turned violent and deadly? Not once but twice – I guess lightening can strike more than once.

If you enjoy psychological thrillers, this book may interest you.

I enjoyed the travel and psychological twists and turns. The friendship element drew me in, but then really it creeped me out. Gaslighting~there was a lot of it. The inner monologue was a bit long and the boyfriend a bit too sweet. So as not to put a spoiler, I will simply say, I would have enjoyed a different ending.

I agree with several reviewers who pointed out that this would make a good Netflix movie.

And…, what is up with the last line of the book? No way could it happen again…

Categories
Book review crime fiction mystery reading suspense thriller Uncategorized

Read and Review (R&R) – “Not a Happy Family,” by Shari Lapena

“Not a Happy Family”
By Shari Lapena

Normally, I write my own brief synopsis on the books I’ve read, but this synopsis on Goodreads of “Not a Happy Family,” by Shari Lapena, says it all!

In this family, everyone is keeping secrets–especially the dead. Brecken Hill in upstate New York is an expensive place to live. You have to be rich to have a house there. And they don’t come much richer than Fred and Sheila Merton. But even all their money can’t protect them when a killer comes to call. The Mertons are brutally murdered the night after an Easter Dinner with their three adult kids. Who, of course, are devastated.

Or are they? They each stand to inherit millions. They were never a happy family, thanks to their capricious father and neglectful mother, but perhaps one of them is more disturbed than anyone knew. Did one of them snap after that dreadful evening? Or was it someone else that night who crept in with the worst of intentions? It must be. After all, if one of your siblings could do something this gruesome, you’d know.

Wouldn’t you?

From a reader/writer’s standpoint, I loved the quick, easy read chapters which switch from one POV to another. Shari Lapena does a great job of creating a rivetingly good book where everyone is a suspect and could have a motive. “Not a Happy Family” is full of deceit, troubled siblings, rivalry, and greed.

A binge-worthy book!