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Left Turn at Paradise (Rare Book Mystery #2)

3.63  ·  Rating Details ·  60 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
The author of The Dirty Book Murder returns to the surprisingly lethal world of rare books with a second enthralling novel featuring a most unlikely hero—antiquarian bookseller Michael Bevan.

Michael Bevan is barely scraping by with his used bookstore and rare book collection when he discovers a timeworn journal that may change everything. Dating back to 1768, the tattere
ebook, 208 pages
Published August 26th 2014 by Alibi (first published January 1st 2014)
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Community Reviews

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Scott Parsons
Aug 02, 2014 Scott Parsons rated it really liked it
It's always a delight to discover a new and interesting author. This is the first novel by Thomas Shawyer that I have read. Although it is a mystery I found it to be a delightful change from the average crime/mystery novel. The protagonist Mike Bevan is a disbarred lawyer who runs a used book store in a small midwest town. He is barely making ends meet and is considering calling it quits. He and his deceased wife Carol had previously lived in New England. While going through the attic one day ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Betty rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-books
A Rare Book mystery thriller that will keep you glued to the book until finished. Michael Bevan, a bookseller finds a book written by Samuel Gibson who was on all 3 of Captain James Cooks 3 voyages around the world. He attends a rare book convention in California After showing his book to different people, he learns there is a second book and possibly a,third one. A short time later both books are stolen. In an attempt to find the books he flies to New Zealand. The descriptions of the area and ...more
The Haunted Reading Room {Cthulhu Down the Chimney Tonight}

Thomas Shawver has a knack for creating bibliophilic mysteries, which frequently contain rare and ancient books as components, and making these exciting while encompassing them in the setting of contemporary danger, deception, and romance. Beginning with THE DIRTY BOOK MYSTERY, this series featuring bookseller Mike Bevan, widow and failed attorney, provides education and enlightenment while keeping the reader turning pages. The new installment explo
SoWrongItsRANDI {Bell, Book & Candle}
Jul 16, 2014 SoWrongItsRANDI {Bell, Book & Candle} rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes adventure
I received this advanced copy from Net Galley and Alibi Publishing in exchange for an honest review

Actual Rating: 3.5 stars

Bell, Book and Candle Book Reviews

Brace Yourselves...

A fast paced, adventure with a hint of mystery this book proved to be. It has some historical aspects to it; for example Captain James Cook and his voyages.

I've read about Captain Cook in passing during high school, so it was nice to brush up on some history. I also liked learning about little known facts about New Zealan
Susan Foulkes
Aug 17, 2014 Susan Foulkes rated it really liked it
As a book lover who haunts bookshops (of all shapes and sizes) I was intrigued by the setting of this novel.
Who knew the world of antiquarian books was so dangerous?

The story spans continents and not only gives us an insight into how the rare book trade functions but also deals with Maori traditions, something I'll admit to knowing little about. I found this aspect of the novel fascinating.

The most interesting part for me was the story surrounding Captain Cook. I don't know how much of it was tr
Jul 23, 2014 Jacque rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A journal detailing the first of Capt. cook's voyages of discovery is found and the hunt begins. Michael, a former lawyer turned bookstore owner, meets the owner of a journal from the second journey...and the existence of a third journal, which will cast Cook in a less than heroic light. He is off to New Zealand and more adventures.
The book has exciting and interesting moments, but it didn't catch my attention. The characters were complex, but rather unlikable. The story is well-written and New
Aug 19, 2014 Daniel rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I've slowly been coming to read more and more mysteries, which I typically enjoy, and this one, "A Rare Book Mystery," was especially appealing since I clearly have a passion for books. And as someone who, as a teenager used to spend HOURS in antique shops and used book stores searching for the little valuable gems, I felt I could definitely identify with a mystery involving a bookseller.

In this story, used bookstore owner Michael Bevan discovers a journal written by a crewman on one of Captain
Aug 24, 2014 Marlene rated it really liked it
Originally published at Reading Reality

This was a really wild ride from antiquarian bookselling to a lost shangri-la in the wilds of New Zealand, by way of a very creative interpretation of Captain Cook’s diaries.

The action never lets up, but the roller-coaster takes some surprising twists and turns as it hunts down the lost diaries of one of Captain James Cook’s senior non-coms; journals that could shed a great deal of light on Cook as a person, and especially what went so very wrong on his las
Jan 25, 2015 Becky rated it liked it
While preparing for a trip to the California International Book Festival, Michael Bevan stumbles upon a rare and surprising find. Hidden away in his attic, in a box that dates back to his military days, Bevan discovers an eighteenth-century journal penned by a sailor on the HMS Endeavor. The volume is relatively unknown but the sailor who wrote it accompanied Captain Cook on all three of his voyages. What makes the book in question even more of a find is the fact that it would be a first look at ...more
Judy Lesley
Jul 23, 2014 Judy Lesley rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
Readers who missed the first novel in this series (The Dirty Book Murder) should not have any problem starting the series here, with the second book. The exception to a smooth immersion might be the author taking his time to explain the relationship between lead character Michael Bevan and Josie Majansik, but he does eventually put them in their proper places for you. This book has Michael rediscovering a journal which had been in his possession for many years but which he had never read. It ...more
John Purvis
Sep 04, 2014 John Purvis rated it really liked it
“Left Turn at Paradise” was published in 2014 and was written by Thomas Shawver. This is the second book in the “Rare Book Mysteries” and Mr. Shawver’s second book.

I obtained a galley of this novel for review through I would categorize this novel as ‘R’ as there are some Mature Situations and Violence. The novel is written in the first person and is set in New Zealand. The primary character Michael Bevan.

Michael is still running the book store in Kansas City, but now
Apr 17, 2015 Rhonda rated it liked it
3 stars

I loved the settings. Makes me want to go to New Zealand The history of the Maori people. The background of Captain James Cook. Of course love the world of books.

I like the suspense of the story. Never sure who to trust. Lots of drama, action. I was surprised with all the different twists the story took.

The characters I just did not connect with any. There were some minor ones that I liked .

Michael Bevan was a lawyer now he owns a bookstore. He enjoys it more but always complains abou
Scarlett Sims
May 10, 2015 Scarlett Sims rated it really liked it
This book is reviewed according to my Cozy Mystery Review Rubric at

Concept: Michael Bevan is a used-book dealer in Kansas City.

Integration of Concept: Fantastic. The entire plot revolves around a rare stolen manuscript.

Setting and Characters: In this way, Left Turn at Paradise didn't conform to the usual mold I'm used to seeing in cozies. Most of the characters are unlikely to show up in subsequent books, so there was no real reason to get attached to th
E.M. MacCallum
Jan 08, 2015 E.M. MacCallum rated it liked it
Mike Bevan finds himself as a crossroads. His store “Riverrun” isn’t as profitable as he’d hoped. He has an opportunity to return to the life of a lawyer though you can tell it’s not a decision he is eager to make. With a fumbling relationship, Mike is urged by his significant other to journey to New Zealand where an Amazonian-like woman is asking for his help in locating a third and very valuable ledger by a man who sailed alongside the famous Captain James Cook.

The author, Thomas Shawver, tran
Cathy Cole
Aug 27, 2014 Cathy Cole rated it liked it
Author Thomas Shawver knows how to grab my attention. Of course a book lover like me would like to read about an antiquarian bookseller, and Michael Bevan is just the sort of nuanced character that I like to follow. For being such a good guy, he's still made plenty of mistakes in his life, and he's still paying for some of them-- especially where his daughter is concerned. But he is trying, and he is also working hard to keep his bookstore a going concern.

Where Shawver really grabs my attention
Andrea Guy
Left Turn At Paradise is the second book in the A Rare Book Mystery. If you are so inclined The Dirty Book Murder is the first book, and an awesome mystery as well. However, you can jump in with this book an not be confused or disappointed.

It was a little slower in pacing for me, which right now isn't a good things, as I have the attention span of a fruit fly on pot.

But I still love the idea of a series of mysteries based on rare books. Really, how cool is that? And Michael Bevan isn't a cozy my
Cheryl M-M
Jan 03, 2015 Cheryl M-M rated it really liked it
What flows through quite clearly is the knowledge, love and interest Shawver has for old and rare books, and/or manuscripts. That includes his interest in New Zealand.

The culture, customs and history of New Zealand, which gives quite an insight into the country and its native people the Maori. As if that wasn't enough the author also fills the mind's eye full of luscious scenery and exotic landscapes.

When I found out the reasoning for Penelope's self applied nickname the bad feeling turned into
Sep 03, 2014 Kari rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle, 2014
I enjoyed the first book in this series, The Dirty Book Murder, so I was looking forward to Left Turn at Paradise. Unfortunately, it ended up being just an OK read for me. I was hoping for more of a mystery. The story started out that way, but then it turned into a weird "adventure" type book in the New Zealand wilderness. It just wasn't what I was expecting. The story was also heavy with description and history lessons. It slowed down the plot and made me skim a few areas of the story.

The other
Jennifer Clausen-greene
Aug 24, 2014 Jennifer Clausen-greene rated it it was amazing
This is the first novel by Thomas Shawyer that I have read and the second book in the Antiquarian Book Mystery series. Though this book is second in a series, but stands perfectly on its own. I found this book to be a wonderful little mystery that was quick paced and delivered an enormous punch. I got to catch up on some history and learn some interesting tidbits on the Maori Beliefs and Culture, especially war tactics which were a gem to discover.

This book follows along Captain James Cooks voy
Debbie Krenzer
Aug 26, 2014 Debbie Krenzer rated it liked it
My review after receiving an e-galley from Net Galley and Random House/Alibi in exchange for an honest review.

I had just finished reading this author's first book right before I started reading this one. I had really enjoyed the first one and couldn't wait to settle in to be entertained again.

The thrill didn't last long. It started out well enough but somewhere before the halfway point I was given pages and pages of monotonous descriptions of the New Zealand outback and how difficult it was to
Sep 12, 2014 Rikki rated it it was amazing
If you enjoyed Indiana Jones then this book is right up your street. Michael Beaven, a one time lawyer, who spent time in the Marines, and has now found his true vocation as an antiquarian bookseller, is the unlikely hero of this fantastic adventure story. Having discovered that he is the owner of a journal written by a crew member of Captain Cook's first voyage to Hawaii, he tries to find a market for it at a book fair, only to discover there is at least one other journal penned by the same ...more
Paul Allard
Sep 18, 2014 Paul Allard rated it liked it

This thriller deals with the history of Captain James Cook’s voyages as well as the Maori traditions of New Zealand. I found that this was a novel which did not really know in which bed to lie: for me, there was too much historical and ethnological detail which detracted from the plot. It is also over-burdened with descriptions which slow the pace down considerably.

It is the tale of a bookshop owner in Kansas City aspiring to be an antiquarian bookshop owner who gets involved in the collection o
Aug 16, 2014 Barb rated it liked it
Although I haven't read it yet, I've heard good things about the first book in the Antiquarian Book series, so when I was approved for an ARC of Left Turn at Paradise, book #2, I was really looking forward to reading it. Maybe the high expectation was one reason I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped, but I know part of it was what seemed to me to be an over-abundance of characters who kept popping into and out of the book. It got really hard to keep track of who's who, which made it harder to en ...more
Aug 06, 2014 pdarnold rated it liked it
I received this from Netgalley for my review.

Wow! One crazy messed up ride, albeit an enjoyable one. A book about books, book auctions, book shows, antiquity book dealers. Who'd have thought this would lead into a wild adventure chasing after journals about Captain Cook? To New Zealand and the Maori's, drug culture, gangs, environmentalism, mental illness, mining and on and on goes the subject list. Most of the characters are unlikable if not on the other side of despicable, yet somehow I found
Cindy Norton
Feb 03, 2016 Cindy Norton rated it really liked it
If you enjoyed Indiana Jones then this book is for you. Michael Beaven, a one time lawyer, has found his prefered vocation as an antiquarian bookseller, and is the unlikely hero of this fantastic adventure story. Having discovered that he is the owner of a journal written by a crew member of Captain Cook's first voyage to Hawaii, he tries to find a market for it at a book fair, only to discover there is two other journals penned by the same author and he wants locate the others so he could save ...more
Carolyn Injoy
Left Turn at Paradise by Thomas I received a free kindle copy of Left Turn at Paradise: A Rare Book Mystery by Thomas Shawyer published by Alibi from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review.

I wasn't sure what to expect from a rare book mystery, but this five star book was a fast moving mystery-adventure which takes place across three continents. Three journals from Captain James Cook have been found & are valuable enough to threaten life. It has multiple twists & turns & I look forwa
The Book Breeze
Jan 14, 2015 The Book Breeze rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed Shawver’s first offering in the Rare Book Mystery series, The Dirty Book Murder, and this one was another good offering.

This started out wonderfully. I was hooked. Shawver’s writing is spot on, characters complex, storyline intriguing. However it took a left turn in the middle when they reached the Maori village. The story lost focus for me. It picked up again and had a satisfactory ending but I hope his next book doesn’t wander off as well. I would definitely read another.
Paula Schumm
Jul 29, 2014 Paula Schumm rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Alibi for a free advance copy of Left Turn at Paradise.
Left Turn at Paradise is another book featuring Michael Bevan, lawyer turned bookseller. I love a book about books, and this second book in the series by Thomas Shawver is even better than the first. In Left Turn at Paradise, Mr. Bevan teams up with Pillow Wilkes to discover the truth of Captain Cook's demise through three unpublished journals in different parts of the world. I'll r
Apr 30, 2015 Ron rated it really liked it
Thomas Shawyer starts the book as a mystery with Michael Bevin trying to find the other two diaries of a marine who accompanied Captain Cook on South Sea voyages. After connecting with two booksellers at a convention, the diary is stolen. When he gets word that his diary has appeared in New Zealand, he travels and gets involved in deeds of daring-do. In the end good deeds do get rewarded. A nice close to the book that leaves open the chance of more adventures.
Dawn Cronk
Apr 13, 2015 Dawn Cronk rated it really liked it
Not being up on New Zealand, nor Captain Cooks 3 voyages, I found this novel fascinating. It is the second book in the Antiquarian Book mystery, so I may have to read the first! That said, the hero of this book, Michael Bevan finds a book written by Samuel Gibson who just happened to be on all of Captain Cook's voyages. He then teams up with another book owner and they head off for an adventure much reminding me of Indiana Jones. There is lots of intrigue, mystery, romance and action! Enjoy.
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Thomas Shawver is a former marine officer, lawyer, and journalist with American City Business Journals. An avid rugby player and international traveler, Shawver owned Bloomsday Books, an antiquarian bookstore in Kansas City
More about Thomas Shawver...

Other Books in the Series

Rare Book Mystery (3 books)
  • The Dirty Book Murder (Rare Book Mystery, #1)
  • The Widow's Son (Rare Book Mystery, #3)

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