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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.

Categories
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.

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 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!

Categories
Book review crime fiction mystery reading suspense thriller Uncategorized

Read and Review (R&R) – “The Redemption,” by C.L. Tolbert

The Redemption
By C.L. Tolbert

A suspenseful legal thriller!

Emma Thornton, a law professor in New Orleans is one tough woman. When two men are murdered on the grounds of the Redemption housing projects, she and her law students mount a defense case.

Louis Bishop is a 16-year-old boy, who grew up hard and fast in the housing development. He is charged with the crimes as an adult and incarcerated with violent adult offenders. Emma takes on a gang, guns, and corruption in the police force to defend him against the potential of a death penalty verdict.

The story is set in a seedy area of New Orleans where the cousin of the accused runs the show and everyone is afraid to talk. As the murders of witnesses who have spoken to Emma began to pile up, she knows she and her family are in the crosshairs, but she won’t stop until there is justice.

I wasn’t surprised to find out the author was a retired attorney. She wove the law, the court system and police procedure throughout the book seamlessly.

Kudos to CL Tolbert for creating such unique characters and plot line. The story is rich with vivid descriptions of New Orleans, secrets, twists, turns, and a developing romance.

I enjoyed reading this well-written, action-packed story.

I only have one question for the author – There was a lot of foreshadowing about a man referred to as “Ninja,” and I kept waiting for him to appear. Will he appear in a future Emma Thornton mystery?

I purchased this book after hearing the author speak on a Zoom event conducted by my local independent bookstore, Mystery Lovers in Oakmont, Pennsylvania. This is the second book in the Thornton Mystery Series, but can be read as a stand-alone. I hadn’t read the first book entitled “Out of Silence,” but I will be sure to pick it up now.

Categories
Book review fiction history mystery reading suspense Uncategorized

Read and Review (R&R) – “The Lost Apothecary” by Sarah Penner

The Lost Apothecary
By Sarah Penner

I am a fan of historical fiction and when I read the synopsis of this book, it immediately caught my interest.

A female apothecary in 1791 dispenses poisons to women to liberate the women from the men who have wronged them.

During this time period, a woman could do little to remedy a horrible situation. That is where Nella, the apothecary came in handy. Her shop of poison remedies is discretely hidden in Bear Alley, a back street in London.

This story is written in first person and goes back and forth between three POVs:
Nella, the apothecary who dispenses the poisons;
Eliza, a twelve year old lady’s maid who comes to Nella’s shop seeking assistance for her mistress; and
Caroline, a present day woman traveling to London on her 10th wedding anniversary. Her plans and dreams however are ruined by the infidelity of her husband shortly before the trip causing Caroline to take a soul searching journey to London alone.

When Caroline is invited to go mudlarking (scrounging for treasures along the shoreline) of the Thames’ River, and discovers an old vial with a bear logo scratched into the bottle, the past and present collide.

I enjoyed this book and found the old natural remedies fascinating. Sarah Penner did a wonderful job of creating in her characters a likeability that I found myself rooting on even the apothecary, Nella.

Filled with mystery, murder, betrayal, heartache, and lost dreams, “The Lost Apothecary” is Sarah Penner’s debut novel and a New York Times Bestseller.

Categories
Book review fiction mystery reading suspense Uncategorized

Read and Review (R&R) – Potluck and Pandemonium by S.C. Merritt

Potluck and Pandemonium

by S.C. Merritt

I won this book through a drawing held by Kim Heniadis in the Cozy Mystery Launch Party. This story came out in 2019 and there have been five books by S.C. Merritt in the Sweetwater Springs Southern Mysteries since then.

There is a prologue giving the background on Glory Harper, her late husband, and how she and her daughter Macy came back to Alabama. Because of this, I wondered if any of her husband’s past would play into the mystery, but it didn’t. At first, I assumed it was put there to show how she loves solving mysteries. But, now I am thinking that perhaps, in a future book in the series, I will find out the truth behind her mysterious husband’s life and death.

The story really heats up with a “Decoration Day” service at church where Glory discovers the dead body of J.R. Jenkins. When the murder weapon turns out to be Glory’s engraved letter opener, she finds herself on the top of the suspect list. Her brother, Jake, a detective on the local police force knows Glory’s love of mysteries. He makes her promise she won’t involve herself in the investigation. But, Glory simply cannot sit idly by. With the help of Momma, she is determined to solve the mystery and track down the killer before another dead body is found.

The town of Sweetwater Springs if very southern and charming. I loved the cast of characters that Glory meets and learning some of the southern traditions.

With more than a few suspects with motive and opportunity to kill J.R., the story and plot flowed nicely and kept me guessing at the killer.

Throughout the book there are light touches on faith and religion which I thought enhanced the story.

Macy starting a bakery is a nice subplot and leads room in future stories for her character development.

And, did I mention, there are some great recipes at the end of the book!

I would love to hear your comments. Have you read this book? Are you going to read this or any of the other Sweetwater mysteries after my review?