Archive for the ‘Mystery/Thriller’ Category

Suspense Magazine – John Raab

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015
January Suspense Magazine
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 12, 2015)
Language: English
Order e-book here:
amazon

Review

This will be a different type of review, as it doesn’t pertain to a book, but to a magazine about books. The magazine is called Suspense Magazine, and for fans, such as myself, of the Thriller/Mystery type novel, this is a great magazine. In just 90 pages, it packs a ton of stuff to read.

Among the offerings are Short Stories, Articles on the Writing Process, Interviews, Book Reviews, Movie Reviews, book excerpts, and many other articles.

Two of the hightlights for me were A very interesting Article about the differnt conspiracy theories concerning the murder of Abraham Lincoln. Another interesting article in the issue I reviewed, was a section related to the book Face Off, in which John Lescroart and T. Jefferson Parker discuss the use of prologues in fiction.

There is even an area where potential suspense authors can submit their work. In that way, it reminds me a lot of favorites from many years ago such as Alfred Hitchcock Magazine and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.

If you are a writer of suspense, love the writing process, or just love novels of suspense, you should check out Suspense Magazine at bookstores or online. Be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Gina at Partners in Crime for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: Officer Elvis – Gary Gusick

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
Officer Elvis
Publisher: Alibi (April 21, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10:
ISBN-13: 978-
Order e-book here:
amazon

Synopsis:

Someone in Mississippi doesn’t seem to like people impersonating the King. In fact it’s disliked so much, that these impersonators are getting knocked off one by one. Lieutenant Darla Cavanaugh needs to find out who and why, before more are killed.

Characters:

Lieutenant Darla Cavanaugh – Member of the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation.
Rita Gibbons – Darla’s partner, and a big Elvis fan.

Review

The story begins with Tommy Reylander, known to the people in his town as Officer Elvis, performing a show in a senior center. We get to see how obsessed he was, from the expensive jumpsuits, to making his girlfriend look like Priscilla, and even calling her Cilla. Everything about him oozed Elvis. As he leaves in his Pink Cadillac, he is blown up, and marked Return to Sender.

The case is given to Darla Cavanaugh who requests Rita Gibbons for her partner. At first they think it’s a personal vendetta, but when a second impersonator is killed, leaving them All Shook Up, they determine that it’s probably a serial killer.

Their investigation leads them all over Mississippi and the surrounding areas, meeting various Elvis Impersonators, scummy business men, and obsessed fans. The ride along with them is quite entertaining and the author really captured the feel of the southern lifestyle I felt. The plot was very creative, who hasn’t found some of the less than stellar Elvis impersonators annoying.

Overall I found it to be an enjoyable story, with a huge twist that felt true to the whole Elvis story. So if you enjoy some rather lighthearted thrillers, Don’t be Cruel and pick up a copy of Officer Elvis. Be sure and stop back by and let us know what you thought. Thank you. Thank you very much.

About the Author

Gary Gusick Gary Gusick is a former advertising executive with more than thirty years experience as a copywriter and creative director. He is a winner of numerous national and international awards for creative excellence in advertising. The Last Clinic is his first novel.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

1 people like this post.

Review: A Ghostly Grave – Tonya Kappes

Thursday, April 9th, 2015
A Ghostly Grave
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Witness (March 31, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062374818
ISBN-13: 978-0062374813
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Synopsis:
There’s a ghost on the loose—and a fox in the henhouse

Four years ago, the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home put Chicken Teater in the ground. Now undertaker Emma Lee Raines is digging him back up. The whole scene is bad for business, especially with her granny running for mayor and a big festival setting up in town. But ever since Emma Lee started seeing ghosts, Chicken’s been pestering her to figure out who killed him.

With her handsome boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, busy getting new forensics on the old corpse, Emma Lee has time to look into her first suspect. Chicken’s widow may be a former Miss Kentucky, but the love of his life was another beauty queen: Lady Cluckington, his prize-winning hen. Was Mrs. Teater the jealous type? Chicken seems to think so. Something’s definitely rotten in Sleepy Hollow—and Emma Lee just prays it’s not her luck.

Characters:

Colonel Chicken Teater – Deceased wealthy landownwer and prize chicken owner.
Emma Raines – Undertaker, Amateur detective, and in betweener.

Review

This is the second novel in the author’s Ghostly Southern Mystery Series. Let me start by saying that I’m loving this series. The characters are quirky and fun. The plots are not overly complicated. The entire story is written with a great sense of humor.

It’s great fun to follow along with Emma, as she tries to communicate with the dead, without everyone thinking she’s lost her mind. A subplot to this story is that of her grandmother running for mayor.

Each character in itself is well designed, and has it’s own separate personality. Chicken Teater for instance, even though dead, still has a longing for Sweet Tea.

I think this book and series would find a great audience with those who love Cozy Mysteries. While there is a little violence it’s not way over the top, so I’d rate this as PG-13 for teens and older.

But it’s definitely on my recommend list, and I look forward to the next entries as they come out later on this year.

About the Author

Tonya KappesFor years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.

HarperCollins and Witness Impulse is thrilled to be publishing this insanely talented and wildly successful author for the first time with A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING (Witness Impulse; February 24, 2015; $7.99 mass market), the first in her hilarious and spooky Ghostly Southern series.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Andrea at Witness/Impulse for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: A Killing At The Creek – Nancy Allen

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
A Killing At The Creek
Print Length: 220 pages
Publisher: Witness Impulse (February 17, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: n/a
ISBN-13: 978-n/a
Order e-book here:
amazon

Synopsis:

While delivering a school bus, a woman is savagely murdered. The suspect turns out to be a 15 year old kid. Elsie Arnold and the Prosecutor’s office must build a case against him, while simultaneously avoiding destroying the case through their own mistakes.

Characters:

Elsie Arnold – City Prosecutor.
Tanner Monroe – Young Man on trial for murder.
Bill Ashcroft – Detective investigating murder.

Review

Ms. Allen in her second novel, set in the Ozark mountains, managed to keep me quite entertained. The book opens with a blood soaked bus and a male figure covered in blood. We can see from this beginning that the male is someone you should be frightened of. He truly gave me the creeps.

The character of Elsie, while likeable, I’m not sure is someone I’d want representing me. She’s so eager to be given a murder case, that at times she crosses the line. She does things that shouldn’t be done out of a need to impress others working on the case.

The character of Tanner Monroe kept me guessing the entire time. Did he do it? Did the other guy he talked about exist? Is he insane or just a great manipulator.

The plot isn’t a mystery in the classical who done it sense, but more of a did he do it, and if so why? But mostly it’s about Elsie, about building the case for murder, and about how fragile a case can be.

Overall, it was a great story, and for all those of you who love the legal thriller, I think you’ll find this book to be right up your alley. So give it a shot, and drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Nancy AllenNancy Allen practiced law for fifteen years as Assistant Missouri Attorney General and Assistant Prosecutor in her native Ozarks. She’s tried over thirty jury cases, including murder and sexual offenses, and is now a law instructor at Missouri State University. Her debut novel, a legal thriller entitled The Code of the Hills, was published in 2014 by HarperCollins/Witness. The second book in her Ozark mystery series is A Killing at the Creek.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Andrea at Witness/Impulse for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

1 people like this post.

Review: The Organ Takers – Richard Van Anderson

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015
The Organ Takers
Paperback: 292 pages
Publisher: White Light Press; First edition (November 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0990759717
ISBN-13: 978-0990759713
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Synopsis:

A disgraced doctor is on the verge of rebuilding his medical career, when he’s approached to help a mysterious organization harvest organs. To refuse, may cost him his life, or worse, the life of his family.

Characters:

David McBride – Lab Technician, with a background in donor organ removal.
Mr. White – A Mysterious figure controlling David’s strings.

Review

This story begins dark, and proceeds to get darker from that point on. We initially see a man named Michael Smith. He sits up, and notices a pain in his side. He stumbles to the street where he collapses. He’s taken to the emergency room, where they determine he’s recently had surgery to have a kidney removed. There are problems however, and he succumbs to problems from the botched surgery. It goes on fairly unnoticed, until other homeless people end up with their kidneys missing.

David McBride is a former transplant surgeon. Due to a scandal with a fellow doctor, he is fired, and reduced to working as a lab technician. Just as he’s gotten a second chance at life, a mysterious stranger approaches David with a dark offer. It turns out however, that David doesn’t really get a choice in the matter. At this point, the story begins to remind me of a medical thriller version of The Firm. You know who the bad guys are, but David has no clue.

The medical details are very well done, and well explained. I actually learned a lot about the process involved in kidney donations. While the subject matter is a bit dark, I’d recommend it for older teens and adult audiences.

I found myself really enjoying this story, and running along in David’s footsteps as he tries to find a way out of the mess he’s in. But will he get out, or will those he loves suffer. To find the answers to that, you’ll have to read the book. So go out, grab a copy, and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Richard Van AndersonI’m a former heart surgeon and now write full time. I have a medical degree from St. Louis University School of Medicine; performed my general surgery residency at Louisiana State University in Shreveport, Louisiana; attended a two-year research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland; and trained in cardiothoracic surgery at New York University. Following my training, I served as a surgical attending at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, and held a joint appointment as Chief of Cardiac Surgery, Seattle Veterans Administration Hospital. My writing instruction includes Internet-based courses, night classes at the University of Washington, and I earned an MFA degree in creative writing from Pine Manor College in Boston, where I was mentored by a distinguished faculty, including New York Times bestselling author Dennis Lehane. I live in Bellevue, Washington, which is a suburb of Seattle.

During my surgical career I violated every cavity and laid hands on every organ in the human body. I’ve drilled holes in the skull, amputated big toes and excised, resected, patched and repaired every body part in between. I know human anatomy, physiology, the pathology of human disease and the carnage that can be wreaked upon the human organism by his fellow man, by machine and by Mother Nature. I’ve spent countless hours standing across the operating table from egomaniacal surgical attendings, and I’ve personally witnessed high-achieving members of a noble profession become corrupted by the quest for notoriety and wealth. This vast experience, combined with a deep understanding of story and character, has resulted in works of fiction that will not only entertain, but will venture below the surface to explore how men of intelligence, drive and compassion sometimes choose, or are forced, to venture down dark paths.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Larissa at Claire McKinney PR for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

1 people like this post.

Review: Noise – Brett Garcia Rose

Thursday, March 26th, 2015
Noise
Paperback: 236 pages
Publisher: Velocity Imprints (June 17, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0991549406
ISBN-13: 978-ISBN-13: 978-0991549405
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Synopsis:

The world is an ugly place, and I can tell you now, I fit in just fine.

Lily is the only person Leon ever loved. When she left a suicide note and disappeared into a murky lake ten years ago, she left him alone, drifting through a silent landscape.

Or did she?

A postcard in her handwriting pulls Leon to the winter-cold concrete heart of New York City.

What he discovers unleashes a deadly rage that has no sound.

A grisly trail of clues leads to The Bear, the sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh. The police—some corrupt, some merely compromised—are of little help. They don’t like Leon’s methods, or the mess he leaves in his wake.

Leon is deaf, but no sane person would ever call him disabled. He survived as a child on the merciless streets of Nigeria. He misses nothing. He feels no remorse. The only direction he’s ever known is forward.

He will not stop until he knows.

Where is Lily?

Characters:

Leon – Deaf man seeking his “sister”.

Review

I wasn’t sure how the author would go about writing this book. When you think about it, dialogue is an essential part of telling a story. So I wasn’t expecting as much dialogue as I got. But, the author managed to get it covered in a realistic manner. The character of Leon would communicate by writing, and reading lips. Reading this felt very true to what I would imagine the deaf experience to be.

Now that aside, what was the rest of the story like. Action packed. Leon is no weakling. I could very well see this story playing out on the big screen. It was an incredible action/thriller The plot was interesting, and it was a thrill a minute, as the reader follows Leon on the trail of his sister.

I’d rate it NC-17 for all the violence and language, but for those who enjoy a good action film, this is definitely the literary version. Pick up a copy, give it a read, and drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Brett Garcia RoseBrett Garcia Rose is a software entrepreneur, former animal rights investigator/activist, and fiction writer. Brett’s work can be found in various literary and consumer publications including Newsday Magazine, The Barcelona Review, Opium, Lit Up, Rose and Thorn, The Battered Suitcase and many other publications.

Losing Found Things, a collection of previously published short fiction, will be available in 2014, along with his first novel, Noise. He is currently living in Miami Beach, working hard on his second novel, Ren.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Kelsey at Book Publicity Services for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

1 people like this post.

Review: Guardian – Natasha Deen

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015
Guardian
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Great Plains Teen Fiction (September 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1927855098
ISBN-13: 978-1927855096
Order book here:

amazon

Synopsis:

For seventeen-year-old Maggie Johnson, transitioning the dead isn’t hard. What’s tough is surviving the insults and pranks of Serge Popov, high school thug and the dumbest jock to ever set foot in Dead Falls, Alberta. When she finds him dead and later discovers his spirit trapped in her room, she figures it’s a case of divine justice. Let the jerk rot for eternity, bound to an earthly prison. But someone – or something – has a different agenda. If Maggie doesn’t help Serge cross over, she’ll die at the hands of the otherworldly entity that’s taken an interest in the dead bully. As she digs into the circumstances of Serge’s murder, she’ll uncover the secrets hidden by the world of the living and the wonders revealed by cities of the dead – if her investigation doesn’t kill her first.

Characters:

Maggie Johnson – Young High School girl discovering she has the ability to see and talk to the dead.
Serge Popov – Young High School boy, who is found dead.  Now he wants Maggie to find out why.

Review

This seemed like a strong departure for Ms. Deen, particularly from past works I’ve read of hers. I was used to books that were a bit of a mystery/thrillers but with comic twists. There wasn’t much lighthearted about this, and I think that was a good thing. The characters were so rich, and living. There were also big shifts. I began the story absolutely detesting the character of Serge. There wasn’t a thing to like about him. As a reader I was taken on the same journey as Maggie. I had to learn to tolerate him, and as I learned more about him, I actually began to feel sorry for the guy. To pull you in, and make you have real feelings towards the characters, is a beautiful gift.

It seems as if the story was left open at the end for further adventures of Maggie. If that is true, then I look forward to where her new life might take her. The plotting was very tight, and while I as the reader knew what was going on before the end, there were many other surprises in store for me.

Overall a great story, by a great author. I look forward to more of the story. Due to some dark imagery, I wouldn’t recommend this for all ages, but would recommend it for older teens and adults. So pick up a copy of Guardian, and be sure to stop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

Natasha DeenWhen I was little, there was only one thing I wanted to be when I grew up: a superhero. Sadly, this goal was made moot when I realized that being a klutz was not in fact, a super power, and my super-weakness for anything bright and shiny meant that a magpie with self-control could easily defeat me in a battle of wills. Hence, the turn to writing as an occupation. I don’t get to live on a secret space station orbiting the earth (and thank God, because I get motion sick on a merry-go-round), but I still get to wear leotards, a cape and say things like, “STAND ASIDE! THIS IS A JOB FOR WRITING-GIRL!”

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Natasha for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Classic Corner Review: The Moving Finger – Agatha Christie

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
The Moving Finger
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 12, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062073621
ISBN-13: 978-0062073624
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Synopsis:

In a small English town, a visitor is drawn into a mystery as residents of the town begin getting a letter pointing out their sins. The letters seem harmless, until people start dying. Jerry Burton, a visitor to the town is determined to get to the end of it.

Characters:

Miss Marple – Amateur Detective
Jerry Burton – A man recuperating from an illness in a small English country town.
Joanna Burton – Jerry’s sister, and caretaker

Review

First of all, let me say I was pretty disappointed in this novel. It’s categorized as a Miss Marple mystery, so I was expecting the main character of the title to be Miss Marple. However, she doesn’t even make an appearance until about 40 pages from the end. It’s as if she’s only thrown in there to solve the mystery, after it seems Jerry has done all the work.

Now saying that, I wasn’t all that put off by Jerry being the main investigator. He was rather interesting, it just felt a bit deceiving. The characters are pretty stock and cardboard cutout characters for this genre. Ms. Christie never seemed to do a lot of work on characters outside of her main characters. This leaves all the border characters as rather forgettable.

The plot is simple enough to follow, and the solution in the end does make sense. I think above the character development, Ms. Christie’s strong suit is in designing a plot that keeps you guessing. So far I haven’t been successful in solving one of her mysteries.

Overall though, for fans of Miss Marple, Ms. Christie, or of the cozy mystery in general, I think this would fit into your reading pleasures. For others, it may not be their cup of tea. The language can be a bit off putting, as it’s early twentieth century and British.

Overall, a pleasant mystery, and a good way to spend a few hours, but no the most memorable of the Christy books I’ve read. Check it out, if you like mysteries, and be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author
Agatha Christie was born in 1890 and created the detective Hercule Poirot in her debut novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920).

She achieved wide popularity with The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (1926) and produced a total of eighty novels and short-story collections over six decades.

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

Review: A Ghostly Undertaking – Tonya Kappes

Thursday, March 12th, 2015
A Ghostly Undertaking
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Witness (February 24, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062374648
ISBN-13: 978-0062374646
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Synopsis:

Everything was normal in Emma Lee Rains life. Well, as normal as life could be, when you run a funeral home. That is until a plastic Santa fell on her head at he local deli. That’s when she discovered that she could see the ghosts of the dearly departed. Her new job in life is to help these restless spirits move on to their eternal slumber.

Characters:

Emma Lee Raines – Newly empowered ghost communicator.
Ruthie Sue Payne – Deceased Hotel Proprietor.

Review

This book was a lot of fun. From the character of Emma Lee Raines, to the antics of her grandmother, and the sometimes acidic personality of Ruthie Sue Payne. All the characters bring life to the story, and really bring the small southern town to life. Each character is very well designed and developed, and has a robust personality. Even the side characters are 3 dimensional and add to the story.

The plot is rather simplistic in it’s nature. Ruthie needs Emma Lee to find out who killed her. But along the way, are roadblocks, including a long desired potential suitor for Emma Lee. Emma must carry out her goal of helping the ghost of Ruthie, while keeping the rest of her town from having her locked up for having the “funeral trauma.”

Meanwhile she also has to deal with her Grandmother in a separate subplot. The character of Zula as a foil to some of Emma Lee’s work fits right in, and I’m able to picture this little old lady zipping around on her moped.

Overall a very fun mystery, and a great first entry in a new series for Ms. Kappes.

About the Author

Tonya KappesFor years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been self-publishing her numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success. She is famous not only for her hilarious plotlines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.

HarperCollins and Witness Impulse is thrilled to be publishing this insanely talented and wildly successful author for the first time with A GHOSTLY UNDERTAKING (Witness Impulse; February 24, 2015; $7.99 mass market), the first in her hilarious and spooky Ghostly Southern series.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Andrea at Witness/Impulse for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

1 people like this post.

Review: The Dead Key – D. M. Pullley

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015
Paperback: 477 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (March 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1477820876
ISBN-13: 978-1477820872
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Iris Latch – Low level worker for an Architecture firm.
Beatrice Baker – New work in secretarial pool at Cleveland Bank.

Synopsis:

In November of 1978, Beatrice Baker began working at the First Bank of Cleveland. In December of 1978, First Bank of Cleveland closed under mysterious circumstances. In 1998, Iris Latch, entry level designer at a Cleveland architectural firm is assigned the task of mapping all the floors of the building. Iris soon finds herself on a mission to find why the bank was closed, and why there were so many deaths connected with the bank.

Review

This was an interesting style of book. It’s along the lines of your classic thriller. However, with this it’s set in two different decades, and follows the point of view of two different women. You follow Beatrice in 1978, and Iris in 1998. This is both bad and good. It’s good, because as a reader I get to see bits and pieces of the story unfold over time. I see things Iris discovers, then I see from Beatrice’s view how those things go to where they were 20 years later for Iris to find. This connects the two narratives, but at the same time, it can be a bit confusing as a reader when they switch back and forth. I also found myself more drawn for whatever reason to the Iris character, than to Beatrice.

The characters themselves are well developed. The plot is beautifully connected. When you meet a character through the Beatrice part of the story, you might see the same character 20 years older from Iris’ side of the story. This helps create a continuous flow to the story, instead of leaving you with the feeling that you are reading two different stories.

For content, I’d rate it PG-13 for some acts of violence. But as a weekend thriller, it’s a good choice, and I recommend it. I think for all the thriller/mystery fans out there, that you’d find you like this.

About the Author

D. M. Pulley’s first novel, The Dead Key, was inspired by her work as a structural engineer in Cleveland, Ohio. During a survey of an abandoned building, she discovered a basement vault full of unclaimed safe deposit boxes. The mystery behind the vault haunted her for years, until she put down her calculator and started writing.

The Dead Key was the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award grand prize winner. Pulley continues to work as a private consultant and forensic engineer, investigating building failures and designing renovations. She lives in northeast Ohio with her husband and two children, and she is currently at work on her second novel.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to TLC Book Tours at Lisa for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

1 people like this post.