Death in Perspective is a fun cozy mystery that I really loved reading. Cherry is funny and crazy and I warmed to her instantly.
She is employed as a...moreDeath in Perspective is a fun cozy mystery that I really loved reading. Cherry is funny and crazy and I warmed to her instantly.
She is employed as a set designer in a high school but, of course, nothing goes smoothly as Cherry is drawn into a world of blackmail, anonymous texting, a mysterious death, intrigue and twists and turns aplenty.
The plot was at a steady pace, easy to follow, lots of suspects, quirky characters, all adding up to a suspenseful mystery that I loved!
Set in 1993 Sandy Fairfax hasn't made a public appearance in 5 years, a former 1970's TV show boy sleuth and teen idol. Now 38 and divorced, his wife...moreSet in 1993 Sandy Fairfax hasn't made a public appearance in 5 years, a former 1970's TV show boy sleuth and teen idol. Now 38 and divorced, his wife has issued him with an ultimatum -- he can't see his two children until he's sober and working, he jumps at the chance to attend a Beatles Convention as a guest speaker and decides to quit drinking once and for all and thinks to himself --
This gig sounds easy enough. How much trouble can I get into at a fan convention?
If I had known the answer to that question, I'd have run inside, locked the doors, and never left the house again.
When a member of the tribute band is murdered, in Sandy's arms, leaving a spoken clue behind, Sandy just can't forget his days as a boy sleuth on his TV show and starts digging for clues to the murderer and digs himself into trouble with the local police.
This is a really enjoyable mystery, some of Sandy's tales from his teen idol days sounded so realistic that I found myself starting to believe them! Fabulous story-telling from Sally Carpenter. There are plenty of Beatles references, to songs, albums, concerts. You don't have to be a Beatles fan to enjoy this but I think if you are you'll love it.
It had it all, funny, likeable protagonist with flaws, original and clever storyline, some oddball characters, entertaining writing that made be laugh. A fab read!
A Sense of Entitlement is a delightfully entertaining read set in the 1890's with amateur sleuth and travelling secretary Hattie Davish who is a smart...moreA Sense of Entitlement is a delightfully entertaining read set in the 1890's with amateur sleuth and travelling secretary Hattie Davish who is a smart and practical young woman.
I found it very slow going at first but when it picked up I really enjoyed the story as Hattie digs into the world of the unions and social climbers in Rhode Island.
This is the third in the series and although some characters reappear in this book it still felt like a stand alone novel.
I was eagerly turning the pages to discover the killer's identity. This is the kind of mystery that I really enjoy, interesting characters, a clever and engaging heroine and a plot that's easy to follow.
I'll definitely be looking out for more Hattie Davish adventures to come in the future.
In The Crimson Ribbon debut author Katherine Clements links the real figures of Lizzie Poole and Oliver Cromwell with Ruth Flowers, fictional narrato...moreIn The Crimson Ribbon debut author Katherine Clements links the real figures of Lizzie Poole and Oliver Cromwell with Ruth Flowers, fictional narrator, whose life is turned upside down when a tragic and brutal incident involving her mother forces her to leave her old life behind and flee to London.
Finding work in the Poole household she meets and becomes beguiled by Lizzie, the master's daughter, who has the loveliest face Ruth has ever seen.
The novel deals mainly with the close and complex relationship between Ruth and Lizzie, particularly of Ruth's obsession with Lizzie.
Joseph Oakes, Army deserter, who met Ruth when they were both travelling to London, is smitten with her but her bonds to Lizzie are strong
This was a time of unrest and suspicion, the people were fearful of the plague and of witchcraft, witches were being hunted and hanged weekly. Their king is on the run from Parliament's New Model Army (who's General was Cromwell), and no-one knew who to trust. Pamphlets are freely distributed with all the gossip about the king. Gossip is not just reserved for the king, Lizzie is also being talked about and not in a kindly way due to her radical views.
I liked Ruth enormously, she grew in confidence and had more strength than she thought she had, she knew her own mind, was observant and clever, with the ability to suss people out. A skill she needed at times.
This was an interesting read, seeing a different side to Oliver Cromwell, well-researched, well-written and held my attention from the first dramatic chapter to the last.
Coal Creek is simply told and narrated by an un-educated Bobby Blue who's come to live and work with the new constable and his family in Mount Hay af...moreCoal Creek is simply told and narrated by an un-educated Bobby Blue who's come to live and work with the new constable and his family in Mount Hay after his father dies.
Irie, eldest daughter of constable Daniel Collins starts to teach Bobby to read and write and a friendship starts to grow and mature.
The Collins family are from the coast and are not used to the ways of the Mount Hay community.
When Bobby's friend Tom is arrested by Daniel for assaulting his girlfriend and sent to prison, on the say so of her aunt who holds a grudge against Ben, Bobby fears he has handled it all wrong and he knew that Ben would want to settle the score with Daniel. He is a quiet and patient person, if no-one asks for his opinion he doesn't give it, he knows that Daniel is doing things wrong but he figures that he will learn the right way eventually.
Almost from the beginning we learn that some trouble is going to happen and we are awaiting what is to come with bated breath as Bobby slowly unfolds his story of a growing friendship, a lack of knowledge of the people and their ways and Bobby's loyalty to his childhood friend and his new found friendships are tested to the limit.
Bobby Blue's narration is spoken in a child like manner which I felt worked very well with intelligent and wonderful observations of the people close to him.
But you cannot tell another person how to change their ways and I did not try to tell Daniel's wife how she might change herself to suit Mount Hay instead of trying to change Mount Hay to suit herself. Which I knew she would never succeed in. The people of Mount Hay was who they was and that was that. People of the ranges. And they mostly despised the people of the coast and laughed at them and their peculiar way of going on.
This is not a fast moving, exciting read, it is one to be savoured slowly and delicately and Bobby Blue paints a wonderful scene of the Australian ranges ways and their people.
The Forbidden Tomb is the second in The Hunters series to feature an elite group comprising Jack, leader, ex major in the US Army; Sarah, CIA trained...moreThe Forbidden Tomb is the second in The Hunters series to feature an elite group comprising Jack, leader, ex major in the US Army; Sarah, CIA trained spy and security expert; Jasmine, Academic and Historian; Josh, ex marine, sniper and weapons expert and Hector the Hacker. All experts in their field and all willing to do what it takes to locate their goal -- the Tomb of Alexander the Great -- one of the most brilliant military minds in history.
The group have an ancient map which they believe can guide them to the whereabouts of the tomb in Alexandria and this is where they start their exploits.
As the story unfolds the group realise that some people will do anything to stop them from discovering the tomb, whether they have to kill one person or hundreds, they don't care.
The book features reams of historical facts about Alexandria, Egypt and Alexander, some of which did drag on a bit but, in some ways, it was essential to the story to know these details.
There was little depth to the characters apart from one of them.
The story had all you would expect from an adventure novel, ancient mysteries, violent deaths, underground tunnels, lies and deceit, psychopaths, explosions, violence, shocks and twists.
The Carrier of the title is Cyril, a young man who is hired to pick up drugs or anything else that his hapless boss Pat, a man who had worn out the m...moreThe Carrier of the title is Cyril, a young man who is hired to pick up drugs or anything else that his hapless boss Pat, a man who had worn out the meagre connections of this brain, tells him to collect.
Cyril thinks it will be just another job but things do not go according to plan this time. Little does he know that he is being followed by several others who are also interested in his pick up, including a very sexy young woman with a gun, Marcus, 'a big stupid-looking guy' who's not as dumb as he looks and Danny, a short Asian, who's recently been in prison for a sex offence.....and there may be others!
The main story centres around the journey and the events of the main characters leading up to the pick up.
The storyline was quite enjoyable, the writing flowed pretty easily, though I did feel that some of the conversations were a little unrealistic, they just didn't sound normal.
This was quite light-hearted, there is very little swearing, almost no violence, with plenty of quirky characters.
Overall, this was an enjoyable read which kept my interest throughout, I wanted to keep reading to find out what would happen if/when the pick up occurred and how the characters would react. If Preston Lang writes another book I would definitely like to read it, if he tweaked the conversations to make them sound more realistic!
Ivy Lane: Spring is the first in a four part series featuring Tilly Parker, who has moved 20 miles away to escape the pitying smiles and awkward sile...moreIvy Lane: Spring is the first in a four part series featuring Tilly Parker, who has moved 20 miles away to escape the pitying smiles and awkward silences. She has a new job, new home and now plot 16B at Ivy Lane allotments where she wants to keep busy and keep herself to herself ..... well, that was her plan! This describes the state of her allotment when she first sees it:
So this was to be my 'new interest'. Hands on hips, I surveyed the brambles, nettles, thistles, dockleaves and some other trailing weed and tried to conjure up positive thoughts.
Tilly is 28, a teacher in a Junior School and has such a lovely personality that you can't help but warm to her and wonder what or who she wants to 'move on' from. Early on the name of James is mentioned so we know that he is part (or possibly all) of the reason but we don't know what happened. Cathy Bramley keeps us guessing.
This is such a charming, feel-good story and I think it's quite original how Cathy has made it into the four seasonal parts. We are introduced to some of the warm and wacky people who use the allotment but I would have liked to have had more of their back stories, I didn't feel that I got to know any of them too well, but I presume we'll have plenty of time over the year to discover everyone's secrets! I can't wait......oh, and I just love that cover.
Dyed and Gone is such a fabulously witty and fun read. Set in the crazy world of Las Vegas at the hair-styling equivalent of the Oscars, our protagon...moreDyed and Gone is such a fabulously witty and fun read. Set in the crazy world of Las Vegas at the hair-styling equivalent of the Oscars, our protagonists, Azalea March, her Hair Salon business partner and best friend, Vivian, together with their stylist Juan Carlos are just there to have a good time.......but in cozy mystery land, of course, things never turn out as planned!
The basic premise is that Vivian confesses to killing her friend Dhane, Azalea know she's innocent and determines to prove otherwise whilst finding the real killer. Simple!
"And Vivian is covering up for someone. Someone worth protecting enough that she's willing to become Big Bertha's prison bitch."
Azalea and Juan Carlos' hilarious one-liners had me giggling, the plot was clever but not too complicated to follow, several suspects, red herrings and a romance all made for a fun and entertaining read.
I'm looking forward to following Azalea in her next adventure!
Precious Thing is spoken by Rachel, a News Reporter in London who is sent to cover a missing persons story in Brighton. It is at the news briefing th...morePrecious Thing is spoken by Rachel, a News Reporter in London who is sent to cover a missing persons story in Brighton. It is at the news briefing that she is shocked to discover that the missing woman is her best friend Clara.
Rachel narrates her story in a series of flashbacks from their first meeting, it goes back and forth from the present to the past. Right from the beginning of the book we are told that the story is a letter to Clara, I thought the style of which gave an eerie feel to the book.
Rachel tries to find Clara whilst also trying to unravel the secrets of their friendship, a friendship that she felt sure was meant to be, 'we were two missing pieces of a puzzle', they knew what each other was thinking. She interviews a lady whose husband had secrets of his own and these were her words:
It's the little things that give people away, that's how they can hide for so long because those things are so little we often miss them. But if you look carefully enough you'll find them.
Colette McBeth delivers just the right amount of suspense, gradually layering the stories as Rachel confronts her past with the present situation. Excellent storytelling, shocks and twists, overall a gripping and intriguing storyline.
This is the perfect Book Club read as there are so many issues to explore, so many situations that I wanted to discuss with someone else, to see if they understand what this or that meant and if they thought about certain people the same way that I did.
This novel has been compared to 'Gone Girl' which I haven't read but I do know that I would love to read more of Colette McBeth's novels in the future. (less)
Test of Resolve is the second novel by Peter Murphy that I have read recently. Higher Duty, A, his novel about scheming lawyers which I enjoyed, was...moreTest of Resolve is the second novel by Peter Murphy that I have read recently. Higher Duty, A, his novel about scheming lawyers which I enjoyed, was totally different to this political thriller, but which I relished just as much.
Full of intriguing characters (and there were plenty of them!) including Bev, a student who, upon discovering that his family have made him a sleeper for a Kashmir Freedom Group reacts thus:
Well, how many wars have there been over Kashmir just in your lifetimes, dad, mom? It's one of those places where the fighting will never stop - like the Balkans, like Ireland. They can have as many ceasefires as they like, declare peace as many times as they like, and nothing changes, they still kill each other. Do you want to sacrifice me for that? Do you want me to sacrifice my children? We don't eve live there, for God's sake, and we never will. When will it ever end? Where does it stop? How is this a part of me?
I was hooked, I was invested in the characters, I wanted to see how the situation would be resolved.
I was impressed in the number of positions of power that women held, including the United States President, the Director of the F.B.I., plus several Secret Service Agents. All good strong women.
The only downside was the cast of characters, there were so many of them, it was difficult to keep track of them all. Also, some of the dialogue was a little stilted sometimes.
Nonetheless, the pace was unrelenting, the writing sharp and it kept me wanting to keep reading.
The backdrop to Anna Hope's impressive debut novel Wake is the journey home to Britain, over five days in November 1920, of an anonymous soldier kille...moreThe backdrop to Anna Hope's impressive debut novel Wake is the journey home to Britain, over five days in November 1920, of an anonymous soldier killed in WWI with all the ceremony and dignity of a nation still recovering from the terrible conflict.
Interspersed with this are the lives of three women: Hettie, Ada and Evelyn. They all lead very different lives but have all shared loss, hardship and suffering.
Over these five days we share in their memories of their loved ones, and how they are slowly changing as new people come into their lives and remind them that there can be hope for a better future, there can be happiness if you allow yourself to let go.
I thought it was very clever how Anna Hope connected all the women to each other without them realising it.
I found the story to be very moving in parts, very poignant, thought-provoking, beautifully written and with characters to empathise with.
Wonderland is the first 'Spenser' novel I've read so I didn't know quite what to expect. I was worried that it may be too 'heavy' and dull and full o...moreWonderland is the first 'Spenser' novel I've read so I didn't know quite what to expect. I was worried that it may be too 'heavy' and dull and full of references to past novels that I hadn't read......but to my surprise and delight, it was none of those. I actually really enjoyed it.
I immediately liked Spenser, a wise-cracking intelligent thug who's dry humour made me laugh:
I got out of my car and met them halfway up the path. 'You Spenser?' said the bald guy. 'Yep.' 'You come here to see Mr. Rose?' 'Yep.' The beefy guy eyed me. He stuck his hands in his pockets and turned to his partner. His mouth twitched a bit. The bald guy just stared straight at me, not appraising as much as telegraphing unpleasantness. 'Mr. Rose doesn't know who the f**k you are.' Beefy said. 'I take it you are paraphrasing.' 'What?' 'Well, surely a former Harvard professor would never say "f**k."
Even though the above paragraph has bad language in it, there is not a great amount of swearing in the novel.
The Wonderland in the story was an Amusement Park built around a hundred years ago, now it was an abandoned dog track in a prime location on the beach. The story centres on building a Casino and making money, lots of it.
Three organisations all wanted the casino licence and some were prepared to murder to get it. The story was filled with double dealing, dodgy politicians, the mob, a beautiful mysterious woman, memorable characters and our hero, Spenser, in the middle of it all!
Black Roses is incredibly well-researched and detailed.
Set in 1933 Clara leaves England, and a boyfriend behind who expects her to marry him and to g...moreBlack Roses is incredibly well-researched and detailed.
Set in 1933 Clara leaves England, and a boyfriend behind who expects her to marry him and to give up her dreams of being an actress, in search of a part in a new film called Black Roses. Whilst at the film studios she meets two of Goebbels aides who invite her and another young actress to a party where they are then introduced to Magda Goebbels, a woman consumed by the drama of her own existence. As Clara becomes more and more involved in the Nazi wives lives Magda takes a shine to Clara and starts to trust her.
The story starts with the death of a young girl who had fallen (or was she pushed) from a window. This is an excerpt from early on in the book talking about the rise of the Third Reich and of Clara's situation.
Who could have foreseen how quickly things would change. Even for Clara herself. When she arrived in Berlin she could never have imagined what would happen in such a short space of time. She could never have known how it would transform her. All that mattered now, though, was that no one else should know.
As the story progresses we slowly learn the significance of her death. and of how far the Nazis would go in their quest for power.
I was surprised at how women were treated in the new Germany, frowned upon if they smoked in public, encouraged to marry, stay at home and have lots of babies, wear German designed fashion instead of French or Italian. In contrast the Nazi wives and girlfriends wore gloves from Italy and handmade shoes from Florence.
I really liked Clara, though her family thought she was flighty, unreliable and irresponsible. Even though she didn't enjoy the attentions of one of Hitler's brown shirts, she was persuaded by Leo, a British intelligence officer to spy on him and Magda Goebbels and, gradually, she felt her new identity emerge.
Overall I really enjoyed this book, though sometimes I thought there was too much attention to detail when I just wanted the story to move along at a quicker pace.