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Birdsongs (Benny James Mystery #1)

3.85  ·  Rating Details  ·  782 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
Birdsongs is a fast-paced mystery centered on former FBI agent, Benny James. Fired from the FBI for inadvertently sleeping with the perp in a murder case, he tries to disappear to a houseboat and retirement. Not having what it takes to relax, Benny starts a service offering discreet investigations. That is until a body is found crucified near his marina. The local police d ...more
Paperback, 246 pages
Published July 27th 2009 by 3 Day Ranch Press
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,013)
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Mar 05, 2013 Rhonda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Everyone has an opinion. I didn't like it. I found it contrived, somewhat convoluted, especially the romance side of the story. I found it unbelievable and forced. The sexual activity between Benny and Rachael was extremely premature. There was no emotional buildup whatsoever. I also struggled with the characters, especially the main character, Benny. Too perfect, too tough, too smart, just too everything.

I read a lot and am typically able to suspend disbelief quite easily. Not this time. I have
Yes: unfortunately, I'm giving this two stars. Why? For the very simple reason that, for me, it felt like a first or second draft.

This story has potential. I think it could have been really good. The author kept introducing subplots and dropping information well past the point where the wrap-up should have been occurring. With some beta reading and editing, this could have easily been resolved (i.e., quite a bit could have been outright cut or worked into earlier chapters, making the story cohes
Tom Park
Sep 21, 2012 Tom Park rated it it was ok
There was not much to really like about this book. The author piled on the characters and jumped all over the place. He even revealed the killer before the detective could figure it out for all of us. Then he came up with a convoluted plot ending to make it all work.
Aug 06, 2012 Lee rated it liked it
I liked the book. Interesting plot. Plenty of faulty characters. The ending seemed a little rushed to me and somewhat "corny."
Jul 18, 2012 Jenifer rated it it was amazing
Great mystery with many twists and turns. Loved the characters. Could not put this book down until knowing the ending.
Mar 17, 2015 Peggy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hooked in read

I was into this story from the first chapter. Very well written . Not messed up with a lot of filler . Like the charters. Liked the mix of mini story's into the main story. Think you would enjoy giving it a try. It's one that you want to stay with until finish. Enjoy
Aug 19, 2012 Ashlee rated it liked it
I bought a copy of this book from the author's sweet mom when it was first published and completely forgot about it! I saw it reviewed on Goodreads and dug out my copy. I thought knowing the author's family would make me less critical and I was concerned about actually posting a review BUT I really liked the book! :-) It read like a crime drama. The characters were interesting and the the mystery took me a little longer to solve than most episodes of Law and Order ;-) I am looking forward to see ...more
Aug 18, 2012 Jillian rated it it was ok
The first time I read this ebook I thought it was okay but needed some work. Then I got a notice from Amazon that there was an updated copy that I could download I thought perhaps the author had put things in a better order or found someone to help him smooth out the ruff spots so I got the new copy and read it again. There was no improvement to the storyline. The only change was that some of the details were taken out of the first sex scene making it read less like a fan fiction and more like a ...more
Ascel kadhem
May 06, 2012 Ascel kadhem rated it did not like it
So I received this in Goodreads giveaway. It's about this guy that solves crimes and in this book he is faced with a crime and solves it. Yeah, that's about it. I didn't like it.
Ginger Weirich
Feb 25, 2016 Ginger Weirich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an Amazon “freebie” picked up a while ago and is the first I’ve seen of this author. I must say, I’m impressed. A man spends 30 years in prison for a murder he did not commit, and he’s out for revenge. When he hits the town, where his nemesis is located, strange murders begin. We all know this man isn’t the killer, but who is. The nemesis has changed his name, and we don’t have it. The murders all have a theme – a musical theme – but it takes a boy from the back country to figure that o ...more
Tere Fredericks
Oct 22, 2015 Tere Fredericks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, He Got Me

I've been reading murder mysteries for a long time. Cut my teeth as a child reading my mother's Earle Stanley Gardner's books, pretty much knowing before trial whodunit.

This one kept me guessing until Bennie figured it out - only I didn't need a nerd to get the connection. Sigh. Mr. Deas even told us, early in in the book who it was, and I read right over it.

Go ahead, read it. An old-new fashioned mystery with all the good stuff. I don't do spoilers, so read it and figure out the
Paul Kleimeyer
Not sure if this is the author's first book, but it seems like it might be. I enjoyed the plot, or rather the idea of the plot. The execution was very rough, with too many grammatical errors and oddly constructed sentences to make it even a 4-star effort. And I found the finale to be rushed and disappointing. I hope the author eventually hires a professional editor instead of trying to do it all himself. But the imaginative story line makes me think that this author has several good books ahead.
Douglas Cook
Jul 29, 2013 Douglas Cook rated it really liked it
Benny James is a former FBI agent and now a private investigator. This is a fast paced, delightfully quirky mystery. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

First paragraphs
Chapter 1
The streetlights flickered with the summer storm. Benny’s umbrella pulled him down the boulevard like a mad dog on a short leash. With each step, water gushed from the soles of his boots. His toes flayed in rhythm with a flip-flop beat. Glad to have an excuse to splash around in the forming puddles, Benny ki
Marianne White
Mar 25, 2015 Marianne White rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it in one sitting

I gave this book 5 stars because it deserves it.
The plot is immaculate. The prose is simple and practically flawless. Our hero is not perfect but brilliant. The small town life depicted is believable. The villain sneaks up on you. There is a serial murderer driven by revenge, and a fall guy with the same bent. A side story is utterly charming and heart rending equally. I don't want to give anything away so just read this. You will not regret it.
A couple murders take place in a small town. Luckily, they happen to have a former FBI hotshot living there who now works as a Private Investigator and helps out the local cops from time to time. Convenient. There's nothing original about this book other than an incomprehensible plot that involves birds, Byrds, and songs. There's no real mystery. But at least it was readable enough to finish the book, which is better than about half the books i pick up lately.
Emily Crow
The story wasn't bad (it was worth a free read, as I borrowed it with kindle unlimited), but the writing was really unpolished. The prose was awkward (at one point I read that people just want a "willful listener"--I think he meant willing?) and the characterization was wooden. I didn't hate the book, though--honestly, I think the author shows promise, and certainly a vivid imagination. This one just need another revision or two.
Ed Drury
Dec 15, 2015 Ed Drury rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This first installment was enough to hook me on the series. I enjoyed the diversity of the characters and great plot twist. It was a true who done it and the who completely threw me. I was not expecting the big reveal, and if that alone wasn't worth the price of admission the final scene totally blew my mind. All of the characters are more complex than they seem at first. Looking forward to reading the next installment!
Aug 10, 2014 Patricia rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book with all its interesting characters. It was another of those stories that grabs your interest so much that you don't want to put it down. If there is a negative it was the rather abrupt ending that I didn't anticipate. I knew Benny and cohorts were close to finding "whodunit", but this seemed an unusually fast wrap up. Still and all I recommend this book as a fun, fast read.
Karen Patterson
Nov 21, 2013 Karen Patterson rated it liked it
This was an intriguing and unusual murder mystery spanning decades and different people which eventually all came together. While, I enjoyed that aspect of it and most of the characters and their back story I found some of the characters to be too quickly developed or not enough. For example, Benny meets a reporter and by that night they are in bed "making love" NOT "having sex." I literally laughed out loud at the attempt at the two page sex scene and Benny's commentary of how after knowing som ...more
Cheryl Starkgraf
Feb 10, 2016 Cheryl Starkgraf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read, enjoyable, fast paced, humor, action and a little Romance too. This author's writing is much better than many of the Kindle books. Liked the different characters, twists and turns.

This author's writing is much better than many of the kindle books I've read. Liked the different characters, twists and twists.
Sep 07, 2015 R.L. rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had a difficult time getting into this story. A lot of the dialogue felt stilted, with characters telling each other what the other character should already be aware. This is something an author may do to "educate" a reader. It falls flat. Then there was the fact that the novel was like many suspense novels with a sadistic serial killer with some "issues". There were some issues that I had with that.

I liked the "bird" angle so I kept reading. There were a lot of subplots that could have made t
Sep 27, 2013 Michelle rated it really liked it
Gosh darn it. Again GoodReads come up with a 1/2 star system. I really enjoyed this book. It gripped me from the first chapter and held me all the way to the end. I found it easy to relate to the characters and found their story lines to be very intriguing. The reason I want the 1/2 star so I could rate this 3 1/2 stars instead of 4 is mostly due to the ending. The book had me gripped. It was one of those plots that you found your heart racing. When the murderer was uncovered, I felt myself gasp ...more
Black Butterfly
Mar 12, 2016 Black Butterfly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ADULTS
Recommended to Black Butterfly by: AMAZON
Shelves: mysteries, murder
Wendell Hennan
May 29, 2015 Wendell Hennan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Benny a retired former FBI lives in a small town doing a bit of private investigating. A series of murders rocks the town and he assists the local police to solve the crimes. An interesting bunch of characters, some certifiably insane, patterning each murder after another Byrds song. Good read.
Jun 14, 2014 Norma rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the blending of stories throughout his he book.

I enjoyed the blending of stories throughout his he book.

This was an easy read with interesting characters. I think it is a book that can be appreciated by a wide audience.


Not really much to say about this one. Easy read, not really a suspense read. Easy to figure out and if you can't it lets you know a couple chapters before the end. Does make for easy reading though. Again proofreading should have been much more
nan ferguson
Mar 12, 2015 nan ferguson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I liked it...couldn't put it down

Would recommend this. book...held my interest. One thing I didn't think was needed was some of the curse words...doesn't make the story line any better...I know people talk n think like that but use necessary
Feb 01, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic story!

Loved this book and can't wait to read more by this author. I tried, and failed to pick out the murderer but couldn't. The characters were all likeable so I can look forward to learning more about their background in future books.
Cindy Hayes
Mar 11, 2015 Cindy Hayes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good mystery

If your ready for a good who done it mystery birdsong is it the characters are believable and interesting and the plot was a surprise. I think it rates 4 stars.I honestly can't wait to read the next Benny James.
Ed Combs
Mar 12, 2015 Ed Combs rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Solid, easy read, non stop

I'm not a book critique by any means, but if you want a good, interesting read this is it. Lots of interesting twists all tied professionally together where you don't need professional footnotes to keep up.
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Jason Deas has taught art in elementary schools for over a decade. He likes his job three and a half days a week. He is a songwriter, sculptor, and makes a mean pot of chili. Most of his writing used to take place at Georgia campgrounds, inside a three-man tent or sitting at an uncomfortable concrete picnic table. He wouldn’t have had it any other way until he one day found a 70’s-model camper whe ...more
More about Jason Deas...

Other Books in the Series

Benny James Mystery (3 books)
  • Pushed  (Benny James Mystery #2)
  • Brushed Away (Benny James Mystery #3)

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