J.A. Jance is a fine mystery writer who knows how to build suspense whilst dropping a few small clues here and there. And that is very surprising to m...moreJ.A. Jance is a fine mystery writer who knows how to build suspense whilst dropping a few small clues here and there. And that is very surprising to me because she has authored several stand alone books and 4 series, staring 4 distinct protagonists; each with his or her individual voice/narration or if you will, flavor. Of those series, the Joanna Brady Series is my favorite.
Early one morning Jenny Brady is riding her horse and stumbles onto a body. She has found her missing school principal. The woman wasn't popular with some of the high schoolers and their parennts. Even Sheriff Joanna Brady had a slight run-in with the very private principal. Brady scrambles out of bed to the crime scene that is close to her ranch. Always protective of her children, Joanna sends Jenny home. Soon a reporter drives toward the crime scene already knowing the identity of the victim - a picture of the body has been uploaded to Facebook. Brady is dismayed; only one person could have taken that picture: her daughter.
While trying to locate the woman's next of kin, Brady and her detectives make another startling discovery; the principal isn't who she is. She had been using a fake identity. Witness protection? Identity theft? A domestic violence victim or someone with a more sinister past? Solving the murder won't be easy, and the links lead to another killing and to other death cases: D.H. Lanthop - Joanna Brady's father and a young miner, Sheriff Lanthop's last case. (less)
What a sweet story and an unexpected departure from thriller writer, David Baldacci! I want to travel cross country with these characters on their fic...moreWhat a sweet story and an unexpected departure from thriller writer, David Baldacci! I want to travel cross country with these characters on their fictional trains: The Capitol Express and the Southwest Chief.
Tom is a wanderer. He is a journalist traveling to Los Angeles from Washington, D.C. to spend Christmas with his on and off girlfriend. He plans to write a story about train travel while he's on board. He tells himself that he taking the train as he promised his father he would in honor of Samuel Clemons - a distant relative. But the truth is that he has been banned from flying, at least within the lower forty-eight. And he runs into the one that got away - the only woman he truly ever loved.
Eleanor is on the train because a well known director wants to do a film centering around a train. A wedding? A murder? A Thief? She is to write the script. The director runs into Tom and decides Eleanor needs a co-writer. A thief is also on board both trains as well as two young people who plan to marry on the Southwest Chief against the pair's parents. A winter storm is brewing, too. But it is Christmas time and magic always happens.
A fitting end to a career of writing wonderful stories about strong women and of Ireland. A Week in Winter is the story of Chickie Starr, an old spins...moreA fitting end to a career of writing wonderful stories about strong women and of Ireland. A Week in Winter is the story of Chickie Starr, an old spinster lady, and members of Chickie's family renovating an old family home to be a small hotel in western Ireland. Chickie hopes that Stone House and Stoneybridge will bring her guests some peace and quiet healing of what ails them. And most guests do experience a lifting of their spirits as well as Chickie and her family members.
Each chapter is told from a family member or guest POV. And their stories move the book along, seamlessly one vignette ends another starts as we learn of Stone House's first week in business. Maeve Bichy had a strong sense of her characters and that sense is strongly displayed here. These characters will stay with me for a while. I'm saddened that there will not be any more heartfelt and warm stories from Binchy, since she died last year. (less)
I had forgotten how well Ernest Hemingway wrote short fiction. I loved the two Big-hearted River stories. I'll have to dust off my copy of his The Nic...moreI had forgotten how well Ernest Hemingway wrote short fiction. I loved the two Big-hearted River stories. I'll have to dust off my copy of his The Nick Adams Stories. Nick Adams is always good to read. Another story that broke my heart was the one with the old jockey and his son.(less)
Dead Run really creeped me out - Key West, a missing Pastor, Keystone cop types, grisly murders, possible serial killer, Demons, hurricanes,...more3.5 Stars
Dead Run really creeped me out - Key West, a missing Pastor, Keystone cop types, grisly murders, possible serial killer, Demons, hurricanes, wild hedonistic teen cult. Maybe a little too much going on in the novel. But Erica Spindler knows how to write a page turner. Recommended.(less)
Renowned Art Restorer and sometimes Israeli Agent and Assassin is in Venice restoring a Benini Altarpiece when word comes to him that his friend and f...moreRenowned Art Restorer and sometimes Israeli Agent and Assassin is in Venice restoring a Benini Altarpiece when word comes to him that his friend and fellow Office Agent has been murdered in Munich, Germany. Beni is also the son of Gabriel Allon's boss, Ari Shamron. His mission is to sanitize Stern's apartment and find his killer. The killer is The Leopard - a man with no face, a mercenary for hire, a myth to most countries' Intelligence Services. He works for a super secret group within the Catholic Church - the Crux Vera - who is more powerful than the Pope, and their mission is to protect the universal Church from all of its enemies within and with out the Church, even the Pope himself. A few religious have already disappeared - 2 elderly priests and an elderly woman who left a cloistered Order after WWII. Something happened at that convent in Brenzone on the shores of Lake Garda, Italy that could destroy the Church. The Pope is going to Jewish Synagogue in Rome in a few days to announce that the Vatican Records of Pope Pius XII will be made open to scholars and to a Commission that will include high ranking Catholic and Jewish Prelates that will report to the world and Pope Paul VII its findings. Crux Vera can't let that happen, even if they have to sacrifice the newly elected Pope Paul VII. Allon must race all over Italy with a few side trips to France, London, and Munich to stop The Leopard and silence Crux Vera which one reporter has dubbed the KGB of the Vatican. But will he after he learns the Church's dark and shameful secret?
For decades the controversy of Pope Pius II silence on the Holocaust during WWII has raged on these 70 years. Besides the 6 Million Jews whom were killed by the Nazis, 3 Million Catholics were also executed - including both priests and nuns. Pius XII silence is quite deafening to say the least, and unfortunately there were Antisemitic Catholics living in Germany and Nazi occupied countries at that time in history. I've read books both supporting and denouncing Pope Pius XII. May be that is why he has not been Canonized and probably will never be in my life time. As both a Statesman and leader of a religion that has billions all over the in its flock, I can understand the Pontiff wanting to stay silent, but the morality of that silence is against the vary teachings of the Church. I don't know what to believe about this controversy like the historians who have researched this subject. Probably the truth died with Pius XII and only he and God know the truth. But it does make a good political conspiracy novel. Job well done Daniel Silva.(less)
Health Inspector and former Chef Poppy Markham is on lite duty at the Austin Health Department. She is still recovering from an i...moreA Solid 3.5 Cozy Read
Health Inspector and former Chef Poppy Markham is on lite duty at the Austin Health Department. She is still recovering from an injury that she sustained while solving the case of a murdered chef. Her stepsister Ursula was the police's prime suspect. Poppy proved her innocence of course. So on Memorial Day weekend, Poppy finds herself at the construction site of a new restaurant - Capital punishment. Their planned cuisine is to be the last meals of infamous death row killers. To her surprise, Poppy knows the owners: Todd and Troy Sharpe. Good looking and athletic the twin brothers were part of the in crowd in high school.
What should be a routine permit inspection, proves troublesome. Sinks, water, fans, electricity don't work, and there is the body of Troy Sharpe hanging from the catwalk the day after "green" protestors stormed the construction site. Everything points to suicide or accident in Troy Sharpe's death, but Poppy believes it is murder. Also piled onto plate is her relationship with food writer, Jamie Sherwood. Poppy believes they are on a slow mend until she comes face to face with her ex-fiancee, Drew Cooper.
I haven't laughed so hard as I did when reading a mystery! Robin Allen's sophomoric installment is easy to read and quite funny. I'll have to read the first and the next installment in the Poppy Markham Culinary Police Series. I recommend Stick a Fork In It to anyone who enjoys a cozy mystery. (less)