Review: Biscuits and Slashed Browns

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Biscuits and Slashed Browns by Maddie Day

Biscuits and Slashed Browns is the 4th book in the Country Store Mysteries, and the small town of South Lick, IN is gearing up for a Maple Festival when a visiting college professor ruffles some feathers and winds up dead with a chef’s knife stuck in his chest. Puzzle fanatic Robbie can’t seem to let the matter go, especially when the prime suspects are her best friend Christina and the father of one of her employees! Robbie ruthlessly chases the truth, and finds herself in a couple of sticky situations before being confronted by the killer and barely escaping with her life! (And I loved how the title was a part of the plot!)

I love a visit to South Lick and catching up with Robbie, Buck and Adele and of course, Robbie’s food (I’m going to make those maple biscuits!) and this one didn’t disappoint. The author does such a great job of creating a world that welcomes you back like an old friend. The rich plot had a lot going on without feeling too cluttered, with a fast pace and a riveting plot that kept me glued to the pages. I mean, the floors can wait to be washed, but mysteries don’t solve themselves! Robbie’s bike rides had me, who is freezing in arctic Indiana right now, yearning for those spring days with the promise of warmer weather to come. I would’ve liked to have seen a little bit about the maple syrup process, too bad Robbie didn’t make it to see the Native American sugaring demonstration. And did she ever fix her taillight? Did she give Warren’s crown back to Noreen? These are the things I worry about, folks.

Overall, Biscuits and Slashed Browns serves up another finger lickin’ good cozy mystery and another enjoyable visit to South Lick.

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A Will to Die

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A Will to Die by Russell Atkinson

A Will to Die is the 7th Cliff Knowles mystery but also a standalone. What sets this book apart from the other books in the series is that Cliff is a bit of an outsider to this investigation, since it was his estranged sister who died, he was more on the sidelines, not that Cliff let that stop him.

This was an intriguing case, and I have to hand it to the author, he comes up with some pretty unsettling plots (read Fatal Dose!) and this one, a suicide cult preying on Cliff’s sister is no different. Lots of twists and turns, what you think is an insignificant scene comes back later to be very relevant to the investigation, so it keeps the reader on their toes. Since Cliff wasn’t right in the middle of the official investigation, I really liked watching Cliff and the detectives come to the same conclusions separately by different means. Detectives Sanchez and Martin were a great pair, I liked their friendly rivalry and dogged determination. A sprinkling of geocaching (I always find that interesting, one of these days I’ll have to give it a try) and the moving storyline about Denise’s daughter gave a human touch to the story.

Overall, another fantastic book in the Cliff Knowles series and a must read for any fan of realistic police procedurals and a good mystery.

Review: Death Distilled

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Death Distilled by Melinda Mullet 

The second book in the Whisky Business Mystery series, Death Distilled is a solid tale of old secrets, revenge and murder, both in the current day and hundreds of years ago. And that’s what I liked best about this book, the blending of mysteries from two separate time periods and then tied together at the end. Add in secret passages and you’ve got an intoxicating cozy mystery.

My only gripe is there was too much packed into the book and I felt like it rambled a bit too long. At around 2/3 of the way through the book, I started to get a little bored. If a few scenes in the middle were trimmed or removed, it would’ve heightened the tension and suspense.

The colorful cast of characters and the side plot historical mystery really made the book engaging. I was far more interested in the historical mystery (and the hope of more secret rooms and passages) than I was in the minutae of the rock star soap opera. The conclusion was both thrilling and tragic and a great ending to the story.

Overall, an entertaining and enjoyable read and I am eagerly watching for the next book in the series.

Review: Killer Party

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Killer Party by Lynn Cahoon

I liked this, but I didn’t love it. While the mystery was interesting and intriguing, I didn’t care for any of Greg’s friends, and that made me feel a little apathetic towards solving the murder and seriously Jill, get over the whole relationship angst. The surprising and exciting ending was a great way to end the book, and overall it was entertaining and enjoyable. Mostly, I just enjoy another visit to South Cove and catching up with Jill, Greg and the Coffee, Books & More gang (And I really concerned about Aunt Jackie!)

Review: Murder in Mayfair

mayfair

Murder in Mayfair by D.M. Quincy

Murder in Mayfair is an excellent debut historical cozy, with a labyrinthine plot that pulls you deep into their Georgian era world from the very first page. It was so easy to lose myself in the world the author created, from the picturesque English countryside to London’s dirty streets, the attention to period detail was adept without weighing down the story. This was the kind of book where the characters become almost like familiar friends, from the enigmatic Lilliana to the brilliant Thea to the dashing and witty Atlas Catesby (that name, right? I feel like I need a jaunty cat named Atlas Catesby.) and the suspenseful plot kept me turning pages well into the night.

Overall, Murder in Mayfair is a lovely introduction to the world of Atlas Catesby, with a taut, suspenseful plot with many twists and turns, a charming early 1800s setting and riveting characters it will definitely be a series to watch for.

Review: Doom With a View

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Doom with a View by Kate Kingsbury

I thoroughly enjoyed this one, the second in the Merry Ghost Inn series. From the enchanting and picturesque Oregon setting to the charming characters to the suspenseful plot that kept me guessing right up until the end, it was an engaging and absorbing read. I loved the reveal at the end, both heart-wrenching and tragic, it was a great way to end the book. I really love Orville the Laughing Ghost, it’s a fun element to the story and adds just a touch of spooky that gives the series a little flavor.

Although a great book, it rambled a little bit in some places and while this wasn’t a huge issue, there were a couple of scenes I found myself flipping through because they were a bit repetitive. Overall though, it wasn’t a big issue, it was still an enjoyable read and this series is quickly moving up on my must-read series list.

Overall, a solid second book in a what’s shaping up to be a can’t-miss cozy series and very enjoyable.

Review: The Cryptic Crossword Caper

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The Cryptic Crossword Caper by Russell Atkinson

Mags has settled in Buck’s Gap, CA to enjoy a quiet retirement from her civil service job, spending her time solving crossword puzzles and discussing the latest thriller with her mystery book club. While her well-meaning friends try to set her up with wealthy crossword puzzle author Morris Butcher as the perfect match, Mags is content to enjoy the single life. But when she discovers Morris stabbed to death in his kitchen, the investigation uncovers a possible link to a jewel heist that occurred years ago and many of the missing diamonds have never been found. A series of cryptic puzzles could hold the key to the mystery, and Mags is determined to help Chief Rick Moran crack the case.

I’m already a big fan of this author, having read most of his Cliff Knowles FBI series, and when I saw that The Cryptic Crossword Caper had combined a realistic police procedural with a cozy mystery, I was intrigued; how well could these two very different genres work together, especially since the author hasn’t written any cozy mysteries? Extremely well, as it turns out. By the end of the first chapter, I was hooked and I read most of it in one evening! The cozy mystery blended with the hard-nosed procedural perfectly, with all the cozy elements you’d expect; a light read, a little bit of action, amateur sleuths, a sprinkle of light romance, and a lovable cast of characters. Combining it with Chief Rick Moran’s methodical and realistic investigation makes for a riveting, suspenseful story that even Jessica Fletcher would envy.

Besides being probably the only book to combine cozy mystery with police procedural, what sets this book apart was that it was so interactive, with several puzzles that the reader can work on their own that, when completed, held several clues to the murder. (Don’t worry, if you’re not a puzzle fan, the puzzles are “worked out” in the book, so you can still follow along. I really enjoyed trying my hand at the puzzles and while the cryptic crossword was a bit above my skill set, I had a great time working it and the cryptograms and Sudoku. For me, it added an extra layer to keep me involved and reading (not that the book needed anything more to keep me reading!)

The Cryptic Crossword Caper is an excellent read that will appeal to any mystery fan, there’s something for everyone.  I look forward to reading more adventures with Rick, Mags, and the rest of the charming citizens of Buck’s Gap.

Review: Held for Ransom

The first 13133718in the Cliff Knowles series, Held For Ransom is a nail-biting thriller following the FBI’s investigation into the kidnapping of a wealthy tech executive. Written by a retired FBI Special Agent, what really sets this series apart from the usual police-thrillers is the ultra-realism and attention to detail that puts the reader right in the middle of an FBI investigation, watching the events unfold like you’re right there in the middle of the action. Told from the perspective of Special Agent Cliff Knowles and the victim, Carl Fischer, it’s a gripping story that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

I really enjoy this series, so I picked this one up to “see how it all started” after reading several of the later books, and I and wasn’t disappointed. Cliff is a likable, unflappable investigator (I loved the patience he had while trying to keep the victim’s wife on track to get information. I’d have lost my marbles!) The story unwinds bit by bit, drawing me into the heart of the investigation and it reads like one of those docu-crime shows on cable, where each clue teases just a bit more of the story. I loved all the FBI terminology and procedures, it really enhanced my understanding of the actions and reactions of the characters and the story feels like it plays out in real time, moving at just the right pace and the exciting ending kept me frantically turning pages. This is the perfect series for any fans of gritty police procedurals or docu-crime shows on cable and one I definitely recommend.

Amazon Link

Series: Cliff Knowles #1
Publication Date: October 15, 2011
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, Paperback
ASIN: B005WCUSOY
Genre: Police Procedural, Mystery, Thriller
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Right Side

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The Right Side by Spencer Quinn

Poignant, eloquent, and spellbinding!

Sgt. LeeAnn Hogan is at Walter Reed, recovering from the disfiguring wounds and trauma suffered in a failed military operation in Afghanistan. Disoriented, angry and scared, she takes solace in the friendship with her hospital roommate, Marci. When Marci’s suddenly dies, it sends LeeAnn adrift; signing herself out of the hospital, she takes off to an uncertain future, deciding along the way to visit Marci’s hometown in Washington State. When she arrives, she finds that Marci’s daughter, Mia, has gone missing. Feeling a responsibility to help, LeeAnn is compelled to help find the little girl, the last thread that binds her to her dead friend. Along the way, she’s forced to confront herself and her demons and start the road back to her new life.

The Right Side will definitely be one of my top books of 2017! More suspense than mystery, it was an fantastic read, and so hard to sum up all the things that I loved without rambling on too long! The pace was perfect, taking just the right amount of time to set up the main character and her world, not only LeeAnn’s mental state after she was wounded, but also snapshots of her formative years, providing a strong base for her reactions and experiences in the later part of the book, which made it feel more authentic and realistic. Superbly written, I was quickly drawn into LeeAnn’s struggles, I couldn’t help but admire her. Her pain, confusion and struggle is palpable, leaving me slightly uncomfortable (in a good way, if that’s at all possible!) and so grittily realistic that it’s almost like reading a true story.  I loved that Goody is a reflection of LeeAnn herself, even if she doesn’t recognize it, and that sets her on a course to recover both mentally and physically. Tough, resolute and enigmatic, they make a perfect pair. The satisfyingly ambiguous ending left the door open for further adventures with LeeAnn and Goody, something I truly hope will come to be.

 

Publisher:Atria Books
Publication Date:June 27, 2017
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:978-1501118401
ASIN: B01M6B8X5X
Genre:Mystery/Suspense
Reviewer:Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Juggling Kittens

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Juggling Kittens by Matt Coleman

Spencer wasn’t the type of kid who would have teachers lined up asking about im. He was a weird, effeminate kid who made bad grades and rarely paid attention. He had blonde highlights and wore vests with fur. But he also wore a typically blank expression and once got a pen cap stuck between his front two teeth. This particular cocktail of traits made him a target for bullies but invisible to anyone who might defend him. And that anyone was me. He was invisible until he disappeared and then suddenly he was all I could see. Plastered across my mind like a million missing flyers no one would ever hang.

Set in small town Ruddy Creek, Arkansas just after 9/11 Ellis Mazer is newly hired to teach English to bored 7th graders at a small public school in Arkansas. After one of his students, a poor and friendless boy named Spencer, stops coming to school, Ellis tries to contact him at his home and discovers that no one knows where he is. Coming on the heels of the disappearance of a young girl, a disappearance Spencer’s father is implicated in, Ellis becomes concerned and worried and begins to search for Spencer, determined not to let him slip through the cracks.

When I saw the title Juggling Kittens, I was intrigued. When I read the first chapter, I was hooked! I loved the easy writing style, the suspenseful plot and the quick pace, all blended together to create an starkly realistic tale from a great new voice in the crime fiction genre.

This was one of those plots that will stick with me for awhile,  revolving around the disappearance of two children in rural Arkansas and one teacher’s quest for the truth.  It touches on that primal fear that everyone has, the horror of children in danger.  Fueled by that primal fear and that sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when faced with all the possibilities, you can’t help but race through the book to find out what happens next.   The colorful characters really brought the story alive, creating a true to life world that could be anywhere in America. Along with the excellent plot, the story blends social commentary about America right after 9/11, from the atmosphere of worry and fear to the educational system to the often bleak existence of life in rural Arkansas. As the story unwinds, you see Ellis change from idealistic to disillusioned as he confronts several new realities.

I have to say, at first, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was the point. Just like in the real world, life ain’t fair in Ruddy Creek. You have to take it as it comes.

Intense, darkly funny and unforgettable, Juggling Kittens is an exceptional debut mystery and Matt Coleman is an author to watch. Recommended!

Thank you to the author for a copy of the book, in  exchange for my honest review.

Juggling Kittens is available at book retailers or online at Amazon

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing
Publication Date: Oct 4, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:9781945502064
ASIN: B01LWCQ1FD
Genre:Mystery/Suspense
Reviewer:Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Death at the Dog

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Death at the Dog by Joanna Cannan

How can a man be murdered in a room full of people, with no one witnessing the act?

It’s evening at the lounge of the local pub and squire Matthew Scaife is ensconced in his usual seat, nodding off after a few pints. One by one, the regulars show up, a few local couples, including Scaife’s sons, Edward and Mark and author Crescy Hardwick, who is bitter over being thrown out of her cottage by Scaife. At the end of the evening, Edward goes to wake Scaife and realizes he’s dead and a local doctor called in to attend insists on an autopsy. When evidence of murder is found, Scotland Yard is called in and Inspector Guy Northeast arrives to investigate. All the circumstantial evidence points to Crescy, who was heard to threaten Scaife’s life but despite motive and means, no opportunity can be found. Did Crescy kill Scaife? If not, who did?

Death at the Dog is the second British Library Classic I’ve read in the last few weeks, and a classic mystery, a man killed in a room full of people and no one witnessed the murder. This was one of those plots where you know how it’s done, even before the detective realizes it, but you’re completely in the dark about whodunit and why and the surprise ending was very entertaining.

I enjoyed the portrayal of life in wartime Britain as it happened; not just the war effort and its toll on the citizens but also the mundanity of life in wartime, from blackout shutters to petrol shortages to the village’s upheaval from refugees fleeing the London bombings. It’s an authentic snapshot of life in rural war-torn England. The colorful cast of characters really helped bring the story to life.

Death at the Dog is a superb vintage mystery from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. Fans of Agatha Christie or Josephine Tey will appreciate and enjoy this well written mystery, and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys a well crafted mystery.

Thank you to Endeavour Press and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in return for my honest review

Series: Inspector Guy Northeast #2
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher:Endeavour Press
Publication Date: Dec 28, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:9781542346184
ASIN: B01MZ4J3EX
Genre:Classic Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Dead Key

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The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley

It’s 1998, and for years the old First Bank of Cleveland has sat abandoned, perfectly preserved, its secrets only speculated on by the outside world.

Twenty years before, amid strange staff disappearances and allegations of fraud, panicked investors sold Cleveland’s largest bank in the middle of the night, locking out customers and employees, and thwarting a looming federal investigation. In the confusion that followed, the keys to the vault’s safe-deposit boxes were lost.

In the years since, Cleveland’s wealthy businessmen kept the truth buried in the abandoned high-rise. The ransacked offices and forgotten safe-deposit boxes remain locked in time, until young engineer Iris Latch stumbles upon them during a renovation survey. What begins as a welcome break from her cubicle becomes an obsession as Iris unravels the bank’s sordid past. With each haunting revelation, Iris follows the looming shadow of the past deeper into the vault—and soon realizes that the key to the mystery comes at an astonishing price.-via Goodreads

Although a great premise and an interesting story, I just didn’t connect with it. I really liked Beatrice’s story, set in the late 70s, but the present day storyline bogged things down. As it was, I waded through the first 1/3 of the book and felt it had already gone on too long, but by 2/3 of the way in, I was pretty much over it and flipped through to the end of the book to read the ending, which didn’t tie up a whole lot and was unsatisfying.

Overall, it was worth a read, thrilling with lots of suspense. But I just couldn’t get into it for some reason. I’d say if you’re a reader with more patience than I have, and you enjoy a taut mystery, then you’ll enjoy this book.

The Dead Key is available at book retailers or online at Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★✰✰ 3 stars
Publisher:Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: March 1, 2015
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN:9781477820872
ASIN:B00LWE0QZM
Genre:Mystery/Suspense
Reviewer:Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Cheltenham Square Murder

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The Cheltenham Square Murder by John Bude

There had come to his ears a strange, insidious sound – a faint zip, a loud click and long, drawn-out sigh from Cotton

In the affluent neighborhood of Cheltenham Square, things aren’t as harmonious as it seems. The ten houses are host to simmering rivalries, anger, and hatred that lead to a shocking death of one of the square’s inhabitants, Captain Cotton, is killed by an arrow to the head. Superintendent Meredith,  visiting Cheltenham Square for a few days with his friend Barnet, is quickly pressed into service to assist the local force in investigating the perplexing killing. With several obvious suspects, they begin to think that the killing was mistaken identity, particularly when the only witness to the crime is killed in the same fashion. Together, Meredith and Long set out to solve what appears to be an impossible crime.

I really enjoyed The Cheltenham Square Murder, it was an entertaining, complex mystery, with all the charm of 1930s England, the time when this book was written. With a quick pace and a baffling plot, this locked room mystery, set in a small square in England, has several obvious suspects with several good motives and iron-clad alibis. Combined with the bonhomie between Long and Meredith (no inter-departmental rivalry here!) it was an exceptionally delightful and intriguing read.

Overall, The Cheltenham Square Murder is an excellent classic mystery that will entrance and ensnare any fan of mysteries, particularly fans of classic mysteries.

The Cheltenham Square Murder, originally published in 1937, is being re-released as part of the British Library Crime Classics.  It will be available March 7, 2017 at book retailers.  Pre-order your copy on Amazon  |  Barnes and Noble

Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in return for my honest review.

Series: Superintendent William Meredith #3
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Language: English
Formats:
Paperback
ISBN: 9781464206702
Genre:Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Dead Nasty

32866702Dead Nasty by Helen H. Durrant

When a girl’s body is found in a dustbin, a case that is eerily similar to the crimes of a serial killer recently released from prison, and Calladine’s instincts say that he’s the killer. But with an unshakable airtight alibi, Calladine is warned off of harassing him and Ruth tries to convince Calladine that it’s a copycat. When another girl is found killed in the same manner, and a third girl goes missing, Calladine and Ruth race to find a killer before any more young lives are lost.

Dead Nasty is the second book I’ve read in this series and I loved it as much as the last. Ruth and Calladine make a good team, with Calladine’s gut instincts and Ruth’s rational devil’s advocate mindset balance the pair and keep the investigation moving. The labyrinthine did-he-or-didn’t-he plot kept me second guessing myself with each page. The pace never slows, a nice little plot twist at the end and an unpredictable plot, made for one of those reads that keeps you off-balanced just enough that you can’t put it down.

Overall, another excellent book in the Calladine & Bayliss series, and I recommend it for fans of police procedurals or Brit crime fanatics.

Dead Nasty is available at book retailers or online at Amazon

Thank you to Joffee Books and Netgalley for a copy of the book in return for my honest review.

Series: Calladine & Bayliss #6
Rating:★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Joffe Books
Publication Date: Nov. 5, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN: 9781911021896
ASIN: B01M9JRC13
Genre: Police Procedural
Reviewer:Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Behead Me

29284829Behead Me by Russell Atkinson

Retired FBI agent Cliff Knowles is hired by a company to investigate possible theft of proprietary industrial plans, an investigation that leads him to shady business dealings, danger, and even murder.

Before you ask, Behead Me refers to a word puzzle. No blood and guts here, Behead Me is an engaging and absorbing mystery that will quickly draw you in and keep you turning pages. Cliff is an unflappable investigator, and I enjoyed how his methodology was neatly laid out. This wasn’t one of those super-cop-hunches kind of solves, it was a realistic procedural, and I really enjoyed how Cliff ferreted out the smallest details and connected them to another case, and the presidential pardon sub-plot was heartwarming and added some human dimension to the story. Cliff’s geo-caching adventure in the desert and the high speed chase at the end added a lot of action kept me on the edge of my seat.

I haven’t read the other books in the series, so I can safely say that this book can be read as a standalone, or as an entry into the series. The few references to prior books were minor and didn’t cause any confusion.

Overall, Behead Me is an intriguing and fascinating read and I definitely recommend it for fans of mysteries and procedurals.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Behead Me is available at book retailers or online at Amazon  | Barnes & Noble

Series: Cliff Knowles #6
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publication Date: February 23,2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback
ISBN: 9781530039401
ASIN: B01C3QLX72
Genre: Mystery/Suspense
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Skeletons Of Birkbury

61etjg0qvilThe Skeletons Of Birkbury (DCI Hatherall #1) by Diana J. Febry

When a tree uprooted during a storm reveals the bones of a young woman, DCI Hatherall and partner DI Fiona Williams have the difficult task of picking through decades of secrets and lies to find a killer.

The Skeletons of Birkbury is so unequivocally British, the rural setting of Birkbury and the age-old rivalry between villagers and landowners helps set the scene with its quirky village atmosphere, colorful villagers and an engrossing plot that draws you into the story. The slow, steady pace of the book lulls you into complacency, you barely realize how the suspense grows because you’re so drawn into the fabric of the village life. I love how realistic the characters are; DCI Hatherall is an enigmatic investigator with several skeletons in his closet that he’s dealing with along with solving the case. I really felt for poor Frank! Still grieving over his wife’s death several years prior, he’s done things he isn’t proud of and when he gets caught in the middle of this decades old murder investigation, you can’t help but empathize with him. I loved Joyce’s loving loyalty and protection of Frank, even going so far as to search for evidence to exonerate him. It was very sweet and added a real touch of humanity to the story.

The well crafted plot had many misdirections and red herrings that kept me turning pages, and each new clue had me questioning my suspicions. There were so many facets to the plot; not only do they have to untangle the murder of the young woman whose bones were found, but also the suspicious car accidents, one fatal, that are connected to the case. I really enjoyed how well the disappearance of another woman, seen with one of the suspects, dovetailed into the story, and the action packed ending raced to a satisfying conclusion. I was sorry when it all ended.

Overall, The Skeletons of Birkbury is an outstanding entry into the world of DCI Hatherall and I don’t hesitate to recommend it for mystery fans to curl up with and spend a few hours.

The Skeletons of Birkbury is available online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Series: DCI Hatherall #1
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Wings ePress
Publication Date: May 11, 2012
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub
ISBN: 2940152882391
ASIN: B0082PXOQM
Genre: Police Procedural
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Darkscope

10796935 Darkscope by J. Carson Black

Darkscope skillfully weaves mystery, suspense, thrills, chills and horror into an exquisitely tense story of family secrets, lies and deception.

Chelsea McCord’s marriage is on the rocks and moves back to Bisbee, AZ to be welcomed home by her uncle, Bob. Soon after moving into a little bungalow, Chelsea finds an old Kodak box camera and uses it to take pictures around the small desert town. While looking through the viewfinder, Chelsea sees images from the past; Bisbee how it was 40 years ago. When she develops the film, she finds images of the same woman as she grows from a child to a young woman. Who is she? What are her ties to Chelsea, whose family has a long legacy in the small mining town?

This review is really hard to write. On one hand, I have tons to say about the excellent plot but I don’t want to give anything away! I think this is an amazing read any time of the year, but definitely perfect for Halloween. Vengeful ghosts, haunted cameras, visions of horrible deaths, it’s got it all. This was a real edge of your seat story that just drew me in deeper with each page, one of those books where you don’t have an inkling what’s going on until it’s revealed in the story, making you feel a little off-balance and a little unsteady, which really heightened the suspense.

At the heart of the book was the mystery of a woman who disappeared in the 1940s, as told in the present day as well as the past. I loved how the old box camera told the story; the smell of death coming from the camera, the snapshots, and literally chasing Chelsea through the house (which was creepy and a little funny at the same time. All I kept thinking about was The Brave Little Toaster.) The subplots, Chelsea’s ex, Bob’s run for governor, and Sunshine, really added to the tense atmosphere and kept the story moving at a breakneck pace.

Overall, I really enjoyed Darkscope and it was a bargain at only 99¢ on Amazon. I definitely recommend it as a Halloween read or for fans of paranormal mysteries.

Darkscope is available online at Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Breakaway Media
Publication Date: Oct 09, 2011
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/ePub
ISBN: 2940013266414
ASIN: B004E9U6U2
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Horror
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

New Release: A Memory of Muskets

28700178A Memory of Muskets by Kathleen Ernst
Original review date: May 21, 2016

A Memory of Muskets, book 7 in the Chloe Ellefson series,combines a heart-wrenching tale of Roelke’s ancestors, finely woven into a riveting present day mystery of a Civil War re-enactor   found dead at Old World Wisconsin.  With nothing to identify the dead man, the investigation stalls and another Civil War re-enactor is shot to death at Milwaukee’s German Fest. Roelke works to piece together the pieces and find a killer. Throughout the book, the tragic story of Roelke’s ancestors unfolds as Roelke and Chloe purchase the Roelke homestead, which has been in his family since the time of the Civil War.

The present day plot was really well crafted; I had no firm suspects (although I hoped Petty guilty of the murders.) and the ending did come as a surprise. The characters continue to grow and gain some dimension and have become a solid unit.

What I really loved was the Roelke family history. There was a lot I could relate to with this book; I have been working on my family’s German genealogy over the last few months, so I guess I felt a certain kinship with the story. It certainly brought much enjoyment for me reading it, as it could just as easily have been my own history. I’m woman enough to admit that I did cry at the end of the book. When I said a heart-wrenching story, I wasn’t kidding.

Overall, a another solid entry into the Chloe Ellefson series and I can’t wait to read more. This book can be read as a standalone, but would be better appreciated if the series was read in order.

Thank you to Midnight Ink and Netgalley, who provided an advance copy in return for my honest review.

A Memory of Muskets  is available at book retailers or online at   Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Series:Chloe Ellefson #7
Rating:★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Publication Date: Oct. 8, 2016
Language: English
Formats: Kindle/Paperback/ePub
ISBN: 978-0738745152
ASIN: B01APSYQ1A
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

TBR Tuesday October 11, 2016

I’ve finally caught up on my reading challenge and I’m back on track to meet my goal of 150 books in 2016.  I’m at 117 books read so far this year, and I still have a ton of really great books to finish.  I love having a full TBR pile!

This week’s TBR list is full of hauntings, magic and bone-chilling thrills just in time for Halloween, so I’ll have a spooktacular time reading this week! (Sorry about the pun, I couldn’t resist.)

30846960 Pressed to Death by Kirsten Weiss

Perfectly pressed. Perfectly proper. Perfectly deadly.

Paranormal museum owner Maddie Kosloski thinks she has the perfect paranormal exhibit for the harvest festival—a haunted grape press. But before she can open the exhibit, she’s accused of stealing the antique press. And when her accuser is found murdered, all eyes turn to Maddie.

In this light, cozy mystery, haunted houses, runaway wine barrels, and murder combine in a perfect storm of chaos. Facing down danger and her own over-active imagination, Maddie must unearth the killer before she becomes the next ghost to haunt her museum.

Woo! The second in the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum series looks to be a great read, and perfect to put me in the Halloween spirit!

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28504510Paws and Effect  by Sofie Kelly

Magical cats Owen and Hercules and resourceful librarian Kathleen Paulson are back in the latest from the New York Times bestselling author of Faux Paw…
 
Kathleen is excited to meet three old pals of her beau, Detective Marcus Gordon, while they visit charming Mayville Heights on business. But the reunion is cut short when one of the friends is killed—and the evidence points towards Marcus as the murderer.

I love catching up with Owen & Hercules and their magical hi-jinx, I’m really looking foward to this one.

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Southern Spirits by  Angie Fox

One simple mistake…
For a girl who is about to lose her family home,
Releases the ghost of a long-dead gangster,
And opens Verity Long’s eyes to a whole new world.

When out of work graphic designer Verity Long accidentally traps a ghost on her property, she’s saddled with more than a supernatural sidekick—she gains the ability see spirits. It leads to an offer she can’t refuse from the town’s bad boy, the brother of her ex and the last man she should ever partner with.

I picked this one up on Amazon as a freebie.  I’ve read 2 other books in the series, so I’m excited to start from the beginning and see how it all began.

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10796935Darkscope by J. Carson Black

“A frightening tale of lost souls, lost love, murder and deceit.”
—The Sierra Vista Herald

After photographer Chelsea McCord’s marriage falls apart, her great uncle Bob talks her into starting a new life in 1980s Bisbee, Arizona, the historic mining town with a notorious past. Bob’s father, mining magnate Lucas McCord, helped build Bisbee in the early 20th century.

Chelsea discovers an old box camera in a dusty trunk, the film still inside. Sfjhe uses it to photograph the town. Is it her imagination, or does the stench of death emanate from the camera’s inner workings?

And when Chelsea looks through a viewfinder wavy with age, she sees children in gunny sack clothes, their eyes dark and grainy. Children from the 1920’s. She sees a young man and woman at a train station that no longer exists. The same young woman appears in each of the camera’s photographs.

As the past superimposes itself on the present, Chelsea learns the secret of her powerful family’s dark legacy. With one click of the shutter, she has unleashed a pure and hungry evil that will consume everyone she loves.

Pitted against a supernatural force and stalked by a psychopathic killer, Chelsea rediscovers her capacity to love as she fights to save her beloved uncle–and herself.

I picked this one up after I saw it in a weekly book bargain email I subscribe to.  After reading the first chapter, I was hooked.   I’m anticipating a good, spooky read.

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The Skeletons of Birkbury by Diana J. Febry

Twenty years ago no connection was made between the disappearance of a girl from Cheltenham and a fatal car accident in the small village of Birkbury. But that changes when the body is found buried in Birkbury and there are two further car accidents and a local girl goes missing.

After I read Who Killed Vivien Morse not long ago,  I put the rest of the series on my TBR list and I’m finally getting to the first book in the series.  I’m looking forward to visiting DCI Hatherall & friends and seeing where it all began.  This isn’t a spooky or ghostly, or paranormal book but it has the word skeletons in the title, so I’m counting it as a Halloween read.

Review: Worth Killing For

30320413Worth Killing For by Ed James

A gritty, hard-boiled story about gangs, crime and murder on the streets of London, Worth Killing For isn’t your ordinary police procedural, it’s a look at the seedy side of city life that lives and breathes every day, but most of us don’t notice until it impacts our own lives.

DI Simon Fenchurch witnesses a fatal stabbing of a young woman on the street in London and chases down the suspect, a young boy on a bicycle. After apprehending him, a number of cellphones are found, indicating the boy is a cellphone thief known as an “Apple Picker”. After evidence turns up that exonerates the suspect, Fenchurch is forced to set him free. As he investigates further, he uncovers a sophisticated petty crime ring led by an elusive figure named Kamal that appears to be branching out into violent crime. But who is Kamal working for?

Just a few pages into the book, you’re already in the midst of the action and it doesn’t let up until the end of the book. I enjoyed the complex plot, there were many layers to the story that peeled off little by little right up to the shocking conclusion. A lot of hot social topics in today’s society are neatly knitted into the story, such as racial tension, gangs and crime, making the book so realistic that you feel like you’re right there on the street.

Overall, an enjoyable read from one of my favorite authors and this series is shaping up to be a blockbuster. I would say that this book can be read as a standalone, but to fully understand the characters, they should be read in order.

Worth Killing For will be released on October 11, 2016 and will be available at book retailers or on Amazon

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley, who provided an advance copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Series: DI Fenchurch #2
Rating: ★★★★✰ 4 stars
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: Oct. 11, 2016
Language: English
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Format: Kindle, Paperback, Audio
ASIN: B01CGBC70G
ISBN-13: 978-1503938229
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)