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)

The Swap

31305593The Swap by Nancy Boyarsky

When Brad Graves is transferred to London temporarily, wife Nicole comes along in an attempt to save her failing marriage. After arranging a house swap with the Lowrys, Nicole and Brad settle in at their temporary home. Soon after, strange things happen and Nicole begins to feel like her life is in danger. After reporting several terrifying incidents to the police, who are sympathetic but disbelieving, and when the Lowrys don’t show up at her LA condo, Nicole begins to investigate on her own and finds herself being drawn deeper and deeper into trouble.

The Swap is the debut novel by the author and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I sat down to read it. Once I started it, it was hard to put it down! I read about half of this one evening and then couldn’t sleep all night because I was so busy thinking about what was going to happen. I loved the premise of a house swap gone wrong, and there was a mystery on almost every page. Who can Nicole trust? Who is behind the attacks and what do they want? What happened to the Lowrys? And the one question that wasn’t answered, who broke in to her condo in L.A.?

This was the kind of thriller that raises the hair on the back of your neck, and it’s all too easy to feel Nicole’s fear as she’s stalked, threatened and accosted by thugs, her anguish over her crumbling marriage, and her betrayal, anger and sadness towards Brad. On the other hand, there were a few times when I wanted to reach in the book and give Nicole a good, hard shake and tell her to wake up. Seriously, girl, your intuition is waaay off! The spectacular conclusion was the perfect way to end the book, a little romance and a lot of action. What more can you ask for?

The Swap is an excellent 5 star thriller that will keep you turning pages – and looking over your shoulder – right to the very last page.

The Swap is available for pre-order at book retailers or online at  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

I was given an advance copy of this book by the author in exchange for my honest review.

Series: Nicole Graves Mystery #1
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Light Messages Publishing
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Language: English
Formats: Kindle, ePub, Paperback, Audio
ISBN-13: 978-1611531886
ASIN: B01L2XI3IY
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

TBR Tuesday (Sepetember 27, 2016)

I finished all 5 of the books on last week’s TBR, do I get a prize?

No?

Ahh well, here’s this week’s TBR

28233217 Cat With A Clue – Laurie Cass

Early one morning while shelving books in the library, Minnie stumbles upon a dead body. Authorities identify the woman as an out-of-towner visiting Chilson for her great-aunt’s funeral. What she was doing in the library after hours is anyone’s guess . . . but Minnie and Eddie are determined to save the library’s reputation and catch a killer.

I started this one last night.  The first page says that the real life Eddie passed away a few months ago.  *sniff* RIP Eddie. *mrr*  I love this series and got sucked right in, from the first page,  as always happens with these books.

 

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Worth Killing For – Ed James

On a busy London street, a young woman is attacked in broad daylight and left bleeding to death on the pavement. Among the eyewitnesses are DI Simon Fenchurch and his wife.

Fenchurch pursues the attacker through a warren of backstreets and eventually arrests a young hoodie with a cache of stolen phones—an ‘Apple picker’ on the make. The case should be closed but something feels off…Was this really just about a smartphone? Why did the victim look nervous before she was targeted? And why don’t the prints on the murder weapon match the young man in custody?

Before Fenchurch can probe further, his superiors remove him from the case, convinced he has let the real culprit run free. But Fenchurch is determined to get to the truth and, before long, uncovers a conspiracy that reaches high above the street gangs of London.

#2 in the DI Fenchurch series, and I’m expecting it to be another action-packed and intricately plotted book from a great author.

 

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31305593The Swap – Nancy Boyarsky

When Nicole Graves arranges a summer-long swap of her Los Angeles condo for a London couple’s house, she thinks it’s the perfect arrangement. She’s always dreamed of seeing the real London; she’s also hopeful the time away with her husband Brad will be good for their troubled marriage. 

But things don’t turn out the way Nicole expects: The Londoners fail to arrive in L.A. and appear to be missing. Then people begin following Nicole and making threats, demanding information she doesn’t have. Soon, Nicole realizes she’s in serious trouble––but she can’t get Brad or the police to believe her. 

When the confrontations turn deadly, Nicole must either solve the case or become the next victim.

I was offered an advance copy by the author and was intrigued by the premise.  Looking at the great reviews, I’m expecting a real page turner!

 

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Dead Man’s Shadow – Anne Wilkinson32203985

Will and Bella have just bought an old house, and Bella’s mother, Alex, has agreed to help do it up.

When the floorboards are torn up, she finds letters written by a man named Edward Barton, requesting deeds relating to a property called Gothic Hall.

She starts to investigate the site of the old house, and learns that bones were found nearby during some construction work.

There’s a mystery to be solved and if there’s one thing Alex likes, it’s a good mystery…

Tales of arranged marriages, conspiring families and dangerous liaisons are soon unraveled, revealing the complicated relationship between Edward Barton and Harriet, a young heiress who longs to be free from her controlling brother.

This has all the makings of a great book – history, mystery, murder and based on true events, I’m looking forward to reading it.

 

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29778567The Corpse with the Garnet Face – Cathy Ace

The seventh book in the Cait Morgan series finds the eccentric Welsh criminologist–sleuth accompanying her husband Bud to Amsterdam to try to unravel a puzzling situation.

To Bud’s surprise, he discovers he has a long-lost uncle, Jonas, who’s met an untimely death. Bud’s mother assures him Jonas was a bad child, but, from beyond the grave, Uncle Jonas begs his nephew to visit the city he adopted as his home to delve into the life he built for himself there, founded on his passion for art.

With an old iron key as their only clue, Cait and Bud travel to Amsterdam to solve the cryptic message left by Jonas—and to honor the final wishes of a long-lost relative.

This has been on my TBR list for months and I’m finally going to get this started.  I’ve never read this series before, but I was drawn in by the old iron key.  I’m a sucker for old iron keys, ever since I read The Secret Garden when I was a kid.

 

So what’s on your TBR this week?  Leave a comment, I’d love to hear!

Review: The Hope that Kills

Ed James, Police, Brit Crime, London, Mystereity, Ed JamesThe Hope that Kills (DI  Fenchurch #1)  by Ed James

Fast-paced and heart-stopping, The Hope That Kills is a chilling look into the dark side of human trafficking and a thriving sex trade industry.

When two young prostitutes are found dead, with no ID and seemingly no official identities, DI Simon Fenchurch, driven by the disappearance of his daughter 8 years ago, relentlessly pursues every lead through London’s seedy underground sex trade, looking not only for a killer but also clues to his daughter’s whereabouts. What Fenchurch uncovers is a horrifying morass of corruption, human trafficking and exploitation.

I’ve been a long time fan of Ed James’s books and I’ve been looking forward to reading this one. So, when I started this book, I expected an exciting and compelling story, and I wasn’t disappointed.  The thrilling plot draws you in quickly, and the non-stop action keeps the pace moving swiftly right up to the exciting conclusion. The only thing that bothered me is that the armed support unit apparently doesn’t see the need to surround a house to prevent a suspect from running out the back door.  Shouldn’t that be SOP?

Simon makes a great main character, dedicated and intuitive.  While the use of a flawed hero may not be a new idea, Simon’s pain is very real and humanizes him; who can’t relate to a grieving father, living with the pain of losing his only child?  The use of drums was, I thought, a powerful metaphor for the rhythm of life, but were Simon’s drums the unconscious recognition of his daughter’s heartbeat, or just the remembrance of each moment without his daughter? Either that or he has dangerously high blood pressure.  You decide.

This was the first of James’s books set in London (the rest are set in Edinburgh) and although vividly drawn, I just didn’t connect with it as well as the Edinburgh setting. I’m not sure I have a real reason for that, except that it’s my perception that as a giant mega-city, London just doesn’t have the same character as Edinburgh.

Overall, an exceptional start to a new series from an already great author, and recommended fans of Brit crime or gritty police procedurals.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer and Netgalley for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review

The Hope That Kills is available at book retailers, or on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Series: A DI Fenchurch Novel  #1
Rating: ★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: Sept. 1, 2016
Formats: Kindle, Paperback, Audiobook
Genre: Mystery, Police Procedural
Language: English
ASIN: B01AAAKV4O
ISBN-13: 9781503936553
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Daufuskie Island

Daufuskie Island, Mystery, Time Travel, Mystereity, John Lueder, Adventure

Daufuskie Island by John Lueder

The St. John family owns a summer house on Daufuskie Island, off the coast of South Carolina. After a hurricane, Caris and her kids discover a mysterious treasure chest containing a note and a silver key. The key unlocks a mysterious silver door in an old, abandoned lighthouse that leads the family on a harrowing adventure through history.

This book was riveting; I couldn’t put it down. The story switches between each character’s adventures, and I found myself racing through them to get to the next. The characters were very believable, from the squabbles between the children (reminded me of my own childhood!) to the family’s reactions to the confusing events and the situations they found themselves in. I think my favorite character was Maitland, I love the idea of someone from the past being transported into present times and how they cope with it.

While enjoyable for adults, it would be a great learning companion for middle school aged kids, with scenes set both in the Revolutionary War and Civil War that would enhance their history classes. Although there’s some minor violence towards the end of the book, It’s not any more graphic than what kids see on an average cartoon or superhero movie, so very little parental guidance would be necessary.

Overall, a captivating, exciting and thrilling romp through history, Daufuskie Island will appeal to history buffs of all ages, from kids to adults.

Thank you to Mountain Arbor Press and Netgalley for a copy of the book in return for my honest review.

Daufuskie Island is available at book retailers or at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

 

Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Mountain Arbor Press
Publication Date: July 23, 2016
Genre: Mystery, Time Travel, Adventure, History
Format: Paperback, Kindle, ePub
Language:
English
ASIN: B01J0HDWI0
ISBN-13: 978-1631830310
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Who Killed Vivien Morse

mystery, book, review, mystereity, vivien, morseWho Killed Vivien Morse by Diana J Febry

Who killed Vivien Morse? A killer, of course. But which one?

When a social worker is found dead in the woods, battered to death with a tree branch, DCI Hatherall and his team are called in to investigate. Was it a domestic dispute? Did the mysterious Druid have something to do with it? Or was it her last client, a damaged girl who clutches a bundle of rags, calling it her baby, Future? DCI Hatherall has to put all the pieces together to find a killer.

This was a fantastic book, so absorbing that I read half of it in one sitting and only reluctantly put it down. I really enjoyed the plot, the many threads woven together to create a multi-dimensional story packed with suspense and intrigue that lead up to a great ending, I loved that sinking realization when you realize what you’ve missed and just what’s going on, then the race to the finish to see how it all plays out.

I really enjoyed the characters, from pragmatic and methodical DCI Hatherall to the colorful villagers, the rich characters added much depth to the story. What really drew me in was the disturbed girl who clutched a bundle of rags, claiming it to be her baby, Future. I just had to know more about it! But I really enjoyed the dotty Druid, Dick Death.

“Death? Your surname is Death?”
“No, it’s pronounced Dee-ath.”

I loved the humor Death brought to the story (not many times you can say that about a book!) and I hope he makes appearances in the later books, he was by far my favorite character in the story.

Although this is book 4 of the DCI Hatherall series, it can easily be read as a standalone. While there were a few references to past events, they didn’t confuse the story at all. This author is going to the top of my authors to watch, and I can’t wait to read more of this series.   Fans of Brit Crime will really enjoy this, with a strong sense of location, well-drawn characters, a strong plot and a satisfying conclusion, Who Killed Vivien Morse is a gripping mystery that will draw you in from the first page.

Who Killed Vivien Morse is available for Kindle fomat at Amazon and in ePub format at Barnes & Noble

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

Series: DCI Hatherall #4
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Wings ePress, Inc
Publication Date: August 1, 2016
Genre: Police Procedural, Mystery
Formats: Kindle, ePub
Language: English
ASIN: B01HT3MSRI
ISBN-13:2940153107110
Reviewer:  Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: Hagar’s Last Dance


mystery, book, review, hagar's, last, dance, mystereityHagar’s Last Dance by Maureen Klovers


Hagar’s Last Dance is riveting and enjoyable; with a rich plot, great characters, lots of intrigue, a sprinkle of humor and a little bit of romance, this page-turner will keep you guessing until the end.

Jeanne Pelletier is a contract lawyer by day and aspiring belly dancer by night. Her friend and teacher, Yasmina has talked her into performing at Algiers, a middle eastern nightclub. After her performance, a fire breaks out and Yasmina dies in the flames.

The characters really made the book for me; likable and  unconventional, they added a lot of warmth to the story. I liked ex-CIA spook Jerry most of all; I thought his nicknames were funny and his heartbreaking struggles made him very human. Jeanne is a strong and assertive woman, but also a little awkward and a little clueless sometimes.  I thought the story about Jeanne’s past should’ve come earlier in the book, even if it wasn’t resolved until later (one of my pet peeves is a hint about a tragic past that isn’t revealed until the end.) Jeanne is very  easy to relate to and I really admired her. The victim, Yasmina, proved to be the most intriguing. Although not in the book very long, her presence permeated the book and I enjoyed seeing her layers peeled away bit by bit as the book went on. As  Jeanne delves into Yasmina’s life, she uncovers how little she knew about her best friend.

Yasmina had surprised her.  She was more passionate, more magnanimous, more manipulative and more complicated than Jeanne had ever dreamed.  She was a true performer, a master of illusion, loved by many and understood by none.

Hagar’s Last Dance – Maureen Klover

The gripping plot kept me guessing, with lots of surprise twists and turns.  Part of the plot dealt with Middle Eastern politics, specifically Arab-Israeli tensions, a very timely and potentially controversial topic that was portrayed less as a political issue and more as a human issue.  A steady pace kept the story moving to a satisfying conclusion

Overall, Hagar’s Last Dance is an enjoyable debut to a new series a great book to curl up with.

Hagar’s Last Dance is available at book retailers or on Amazon

I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Series: A Jeanne Pelletier Mystery #1
Rating: ★★★★★ 5 stars
Publisher: Chesapeake Books
Publication Date: November 25, 2015
Formats: Kindle
Genre: Mystery
Language
: English
ISBN-10: 0692517634
ASIN: B018JEOC5W
Reviewer: Tam (Mystereity Reviews)

Review: The Woman in Blue

25942279The Woman in Blue by Elly Griffiths

An ethereal vision of a woman in blue in a graveyard one night leads to the body of a beautiful young model found dead in a ditch.  DI Nelson and his crew  find themselves in a new investigation to find who is strangling blonde women in the medieval pilgrimage town of Little Walsingham. At the same time, Ruth is contacted by an old university friend who requests Ruth’s help in tracking down the author of several threatening letters.

I really enjoyed this latest installment in the Ruth Galloway series. The main plot, the murders of two blond women, tied in with the sub-plot of the threatening letters so well that it was impossible to see a connection at first. All the clues were there, neatly woven into the story so well that you didn’t realize until much later how pertinent they were.

The great locale, the medieval pilgrimage town of Little Walsingham, oozed Ye Olde World Charm (I admit I fall for it every time. I’m a sucker for hedge lined country lanes, medieval churches and quaint English villages.)

Also, this time on Cheaters, Nelson and Michelle are forced to re-evaluate their relationship, while Ruth waffles between hating Nelson and hating herself for loving Nelson. Ruth is starting to irritate me; I just want to give her a shake and tell her to move on. I have to say, Ruth’s attitude towards Hillary was a little surprising to me. I know Ruth’s staunch disapproval of religion is a mainstay of the series, but I thought that her feminist ideology would at least recognize that female vicars don’t have it easy and to have some empathy.

Let me just say that I feel my life is severely lacking without a Cathbad to pop up randomly in a purple cloak to spout arcane wisdom and I’m not sure who to call to remedy that.

And just what did Nelson say to Ruth at the end?!

Overall, another great book in a series I highly recommend to readers.

The Woman in Blue is available at book stores everywhere and on Amazon

Review: Jørn Lier Horst – Ordeal

norsk, Norwegian, nordic, crime, police, procedural, mystery, book, review, ordeal, mystereityOrdeal by Jørn Lier Horst

Jørn Lier Horst never fails to impress me, his William Wisting series draws you in with their intense and thrilling plots. A former police detective in Norway, his experience shows with how well crafted and realistic the story’s investigation plays out. In Ordeal, the cold case of a taxi driver missing for over 6 months has Wisting stumped, that is until a close friend tells him about a strange customer at her cafe who makes several comments that could be clues to the case. That starts Wisting on a journey encompassing illicit activities going back decades, the seemingly unconnected murder of a young woman, and daughter Line’s impending motherhood.

One of the things I love about this book (and the series) is how clean it is.  That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy a more complex story in other books, it’s just that I really appreciate how sleek and uncomplicated this series is. There’s no excess filler in the plot; it’s a straightforward police procedural with a minimum of extraneous details. And yet the stories never seem to suffer because of it; the labyrinthine plots just suck you in from the beginning.

I also like how Wisting and daughter Line work together but separately on cases; the unique symbiosis adds so much depth to the story and really highlights how close Wisting is to Line, and yet how distant their relationship is in a lot of ways.

Overall, another stellar book in the incomparable Wisting series, and I definitely recommend this series to any mystery lover.

 

Ordeal is available at book retailers or you can order a copy on Amazon

Review: Divining Murder

30077551Divining Murder by GM Cameron

A woman is found murdered in a ritualistic way, and the police have very information to go on.  The victim, a middle aged woman who left her husband to start a mysterious new life is found in an alley in Glasgow with multiple stab wounds.   Shortly after the murder, Andromeda (Annie to her friends)  spies a man at a Glasgow train station whose aura is clearly evil.  After leaving an anonymous tip for the police, they trace the tip back to her, and with no other information to go on, begin to investigate what she saw.   It soon becomes apparent that Annie is the key to unraveling the mystery and stopping a man bent on evil.

I’m a sucker for paranormal mysteries, and I’m a sucker for Scottish mysteries, so I had pretty high expectations just from reading the blurb.  And it was (for the most part) an excellent mystery, with a taut plot, great characters and lots of magic.

The plot was really well done; a great premise that grew and spiraled as the book went on, wth an action packed ending.  I liked that there were actually 3 teams working on the mystery separately, it was  a great way to integrate new information.  So there was Annie and her friends,  the victim’s ex-husband, friend and her sister (who is a nun) plus the police.  And – you won’t believe this –  every time the amateurs found out new information they – get ready for this – called the police and told them of their findings!  Amazing, right?

I really enjoyed all the characters, from bohemian Annie to angsty punker Doll to soft-hearted thug Mick, they were a likable crew.  I have to say, out of all the characters, the cops were the most confusing to me.  I lost track of who was who, outside of Angela and Donnelly.

What kept me from rating this 5 stars (because it really was a great book) was a couple of things.  For one, it was predictable.  I knew what was going to happen at the end before I was a third of the way through the book.  I kept reading, hoping I was wrong but no, it’s like I’m psychic or something.  Also, this book went on way too long, a little editing would’ve tightened up the story and made it a lean, mean, mystery machine.

Overall, a great mystery and perfect for anyone who loves Tartan Noir or witches or magic.

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