Joe Clifford manages to get better with each outing in the series, and that's saying something considering how good the first two were. Jay’s self-refJoe Clifford manages to get better with each outing in the series, and that's saying something considering how good the first two were. Jay’s self-reflection has taken on a new, more mature depth, and the mystery this go ‘round is exquisitely layered....more
WARNING: This book is word crack. Do not start late at night or if you have anything pressing to do, because once you start you will not stop until yoWARNING: This book is word crack. Do not start late at night or if you have anything pressing to do, because once you start you will not stop until you're finished. Crack, I tell you. You have been warned....more
Shayna Billups is not a woman to be trifled with. As ruthless and conniving as she is beautiful and charming, Shayna will go to any lengths to get theShayna Billups is not a woman to be trifled with. As ruthless and conniving as she is beautiful and charming, Shayna will go to any lengths to get the things she wants in life—namely, money and a good time. Having put ex-flame Tommy Ruzzo’s heart through a blender in Crosswise, the book that introduced Shayna and Tommy to readers, Shayna has left Tommy reeling in Florida, and settled in New Orleans. While working in a pirate-themed bar, she learns of the legend of Captain Aurora and the treasure he buried somewhere off the East coast. The legend takes on new significance when she happens upon a portion of the map that supposedly leads to the pirate’s cache. Always up for an adventure, and the chance at some easy money, Shayna follows the map’s clues to Stonehaven, North Carolina, and begins hunting for the hidden loot.
Back in Florida, Tommy has hit rock bottom, working a dead-end job and drinking far too much. Convinced he will never be able to move on with his life without giving things one more try with Shayna, he sets off to find her, determined to make it work this time. What unfolds once Tommy tracks down Shayna is gonzo, all-out action. Shayna has assembled a crew of drug-dealing pirate impersonators—Stonehaven is a pirate-happy tourist town—who find themselves embroiled in a bloody turf war with a vicious biker gang over the map and the treasure, not to mention the drug dealing. In town less than a day, Tommy somehow finds himself caught in the middle of the two warring factions.
If it sounds a little over-the-top, that’s because it gloriously is. Author S.W. Lauden has taken what could have been a straightforward, and therefore boring, tale of hunting for lost treasure and turned it on its ear with a premise—pirates searching for buried pirate treasure while fending off bloodthirsty bikers—just off-the-wall enough to give it a sense of irreverence. Make no mistake, however, this is no lighthearted romp. From arson to drugs to beatdowns and even murder, the stakes are both very real and very high, making Crossed Bones a fast-paced caper that at the same time never loses the sense of danger and desperation that result when people spiral down into obsession, be it love (Tommy) or greed (Shayna). ...more
When artist Katherine Goff and her musician husband, Michael, moved from their California home to Reigny-sur-Canne three years ago, Katherine thoughtWhen artist Katherine Goff and her musician husband, Michael, moved from their California home to Reigny-sur-Canne three years ago, Katherine thought it was finally her chance to live a simple, carefree life among close neighbors in a charming French village. The locals, however, turned out to be resistant to outsiders, particularly foreigners.
In attempt to get in the good graces of Madame Pomfort, an elderly widow who holds sway over the village’s social scene, Katherine persuades the mayor to allow her to organize the annual Feast of the Assumption, the success of which Katherine is convinced will finally win her Madame Pomfory’s blessing.
Her carefully laid plan is derailed when Chateau de Bellegarde owner Albert Bellegarde is found dead early one morning at the bottom of a staircase in the chateau. Though Albert and his wife, Adele, have lived in the village for decades, his German linage prevented them from ever fully integrating into village society. Adele reaches out to Katherine for comfort, and Katherine finds herself drawn in to the mystery surrounding Albert’s death.
Did he merely slip and fall down the steep, poorly lit staircase in the middle of the night, or did something more sinister occur in a village where everyone seems to be hiding some secret?
Love & Death in Burgundy, the first in a new series from Susan C. Shea (Dani O’Rourke mystery series), vividly brings to life the quirky denizens of Reigny-sur-Canne. While it’s Katherine’s goal to be accepted by the locals, she is also surrounded by other “rejects” and fish out of water such as herself. From Pippa, the English ex-pat Agatha Christie wannabe who seizes on Bellegarde’s death as fodder for her novel, to fellow Americans JB and Betty Lou Holliday, both involved in the music industry like Michael, to local wayward teen Jeanette, known to be both a snoop and a thief, Katherine soon finds things aren’t quite so quaint and accusations fly when a potential murder is involved.
Francophiles and lovers of small town/village settings will appreciate the painstaking detail Shea has put into creating the atmosphere of Love & Death in Burgundy. From start to finish, Shea has generously peppered the mystery with French history, culture, well-used French words and phrases, and, of course, mouthwatering descriptions of the wine, cheese and other culinary delights for which the French are so well-known. So, treat yourself to a getaway to the Burgundy region of France for a little Love & Death in Burgundy....more
Pete Fernandez has had more than his share of bad luck over the years. You’d think losing one’s job, father and fiancée, falling down the addiction raPete Fernandez has had more than his share of bad luck over the years. You’d think losing one’s job, father and fiancée, falling down the addiction rabbit hole, and going toe-to-toe with a serial killer (Silent City, Down the Darkest Street) would be enough to break a guy.
Fernandez is cut from sturdy cloth, however.
Determined to set his life on firmer footing, he begins working as a private investigator and attending AA meetings. He’s still figuring things out, however, not sure if trailing cheating spouses is the way he wants to spend the rest of his days.
Given his recent past, part of him appreciates the reliability and simplicity of the routine, not to mention the lack of personal danger. Deep down though, another part of him is still struggling with his urge for challenges and adventure, his desire to help right wrongs and fight injustice. Which part will win out is put to a serious test in Dangerous Ends.
Fernandez’s partner, Kathy Bentley, approaches him with a potential new case, one involving one of the most infamous murders in Miami’s history. Gaspar Varela, a former Miami narcotics detective, was convicted ten years ago for the brutal murder of his wife and is serving a life sentence. His daughter, now an adult, has always been Varela’s staunchest supporter, and wants Fernandez and Bentley to take a fresh look at the case. Their initial poking around doesn’t do much to convince Fernandez of Varela’s innocence, but when Kathy is attacked and mysterious forces seem determined to flag them off the case, Fernandez’s curiosity and sense of justice are triggered and he can’t help but start pushing back.
Strangely, the threads Fernandez follow lead back beyond the events of that night ten years ago, all the way to 1950s Cuba, the place his own grandfather fled following Castro’s revolution in 1959. When Los Enfermos, a ruthless gang of pro-Castro drug dealers, enters the fray in response to Fernandez’s nosing around, it becomes clear this case has potentially life-altering implications for Fernandez.
As with the first two entries in the Fernandez series, the city of Miami is as much a character as any person in the story. In Dangerous Ends, however, author Alex Segura takes readers beyond the neon-soaked nights and sun-drenched beaches that usually take center stage in Miami-based writing, weaving in flashbacks to 1950s Cuba and Castro’s takeover. In that regard, Dangerous Ends represents a more ambitious approach for Segura than the first two Fernandez outings.
While those entries addressed a case du jour via the prism of Fernandez’s personal issues, Dangerous Ends takes a step back and filters events through a broader perspective. Segura uses the idea of struggle—good cops vs. bad, Fernandez vs. himself, pro-Castro Cuban-Americans vs. anti-Castro factions—to explore the concept of how the choices people make have consequences that impact not only their lives, for both better and worse, but can have a ripple effect that lasts for generations. It’s a nice maturation, both of the series and of Segura’s talent as an author. ...more