Set in Montreal, this debut crime fiction novel by author Sandra Nikolai is loaded with intriguing characters tSeamless Plot and Escalating Suspicions
Set in Montreal, this debut crime fiction novel by author Sandra Nikolai is loaded with intriguing characters that continued to hold my interest as it wove a story of a betrayed wife, Megan Scott, and a criminal investigator, Michael Elliott.
As a bit of a movie buff, I found the premise of False Impressions reminiscent of the 1999 movie Random Hearts starring Harrison Ford and Kristin Scott Thomas who, after their marriage partners die in a plane crash, discover that their spouses were having an affair. The similarity ends there, though. The reason I read and enjoyed False Impressions is because it focuses is on the murder mystery. The main plot also offers escalating tension by presenting the protagonist as a major suspect in the murders. The emotional repercussions on protagonist Megan Scott, of her husband's extra-marital affair and of police suspicion concerning her involvement in the murders, permeate the story on a more subtle level.
The main plot and subplots in False Impressions fit together seamlessly, building suspense and creating new questions, along with doubt, as suspicion passes from one possible murderer to the next. The roles of Megan Scott and Michael Elliott are written with vivid effect, allowing the reader to develop a relationship with these characters as the story progresses. While this is essential to many stories, it is especially significant in a continuing series with its recurring cast of characters. I want to believe the protagonist has a backstory with enough depth to allow new revelations as the series progresses, along with the strength from past experiences to realistically deal with new crisis situations. ...more
This trilogy is comprised of a novella and two short stories. I had an opportunity to read the novella, Toxic Solutions, beforeClosed Doors, a Trilogy
This trilogy is comprised of a novella and two short stories. I had an opportunity to read the novella, Toxic Solutions, before the publication date and read it again when I purchased the book on Amazon. Both times, I wished the story had been a full length novel because there was enough action and solid story line to fill a book.
Author Rich Weatherly has extensive knowledge of the topics covered in his work. He uses this background to build a believable tale of action and suspense that keeps the reader turning pages through one tense-filled scene after another. The characters in the three works tie the stories together in a loose pattern that does not require reading them in a specific order but adds another dimension of interest and strengthens the cohesiveness of the trilogy.
Recently, I watched the DVD movie Outbreak (Dustin Hoffman, Rene Russo, and Kevin Spacey) and was reminded of this novel. Both begin in the vaults of the Center for Disease Control. The criminal element in Outbreak branches off in a different direction than Toxic Solutions, but the threat of a deadly virus that could consume the world if not controlled or stopped exists in both.
Weatherly’s writing style captures the tense atmosphere of an impending crisis and gives a realistic portrayal of events throughout the story.
One of the short stories was especially fun for me to read because it was set in the same theater I attended as a child . . . only several hundred miles north. I could smell the mouthwatering scent of popcorn as it popped and taste the (real) butter drizzled over the white kernels. It was easy to imagine the cocky attitudes of the teens and feel empathy for the young usher as he attempted to perform his assigned duties....more
You might think it would be difficult to like a protagonist who kills when he believes justice is needed, but protagonist Michael Sykora has a way aboYou might think it would be difficult to like a protagonist who kills when he believes justice is needed, but protagonist Michael Sykora has a way about him that makes it easy to picture him twisting his toe in the sand and going, “Ah, gee whiz.” Or at least handing money to a street-corner entrepreneur so he/she can "eat or sleep good" for a change.
Author Darcia Helle asks the question, metaphorically speaking, if readers have ever wanted to either “get even” or “take the law into their own hands” when justice is not served to their satisfaction. Whatever answer is given will not spoil the pleasure of reading NO JUSTICE (A Michael Sykora Novel).
The story is filled with well-paced action; a hint of a promise of a budding romance; and lots of poetic, if not vigilante, justice meted out. In order to gain sympathy from the reader for the protagonist, who is a killer remember, it is necessary for the bad guys to be really, really bad, meaning they have little or no redeeming qualities. Sure, they may love their mothers and eat all their broccoli, but that is for their own benefit, never for the good of someone else.
Michael Sykora isn’t a hero, more the champion of a cause. He kills to avenge the violence perpetrated against his woman, then against all women. This may be his blood washing, the damned spot that won’t come out no matter how often he scrubs. Or avenges.
The story is solid, the plot holds up and the action never lets up. Because of Mr. Sykora’s efficiency in killing, suspension of disbelief may be required for some readers, but not for those who enjoy the Die Hard/MI/Bourne movies.
(Just an aside: for some reason, Nicky reminded me of a neophyte Lisbeth Salander.) ...more
In an atmosphere of alcohol and drugs that defines the lives of more than a few people in eastern Wisconsin the year Janis Joplin dies, treacherous waIn an atmosphere of alcohol and drugs that defines the lives of more than a few people in eastern Wisconsin the year Janis Joplin dies, treacherous waves on Lake Michigan toss Insurance Investigator Pepper Bibeau into the company of an intriguing and self-reliant blind lady. Haunted by past events, the lady presents Pepper with an unusual request to help clear up a murder. To link these events to an investigation on her cousin’s life insurance claim, Pepper delves into a family history she didn’t know existed.
More curious than suspicious over the husband’s cancellation of her cousin’s claim, Pepper digs for a rational explanation. What she unearths are family skeletons best left undisturbed. Then her uncle points out a possible connection between a grandaunt’s death and one of her investigations. Now Pepper must weigh the fate of the living against memories of the dead.
Pepper’s son resides in Hawaii, but his father lives right next door to her, and Homicide Sergeant Rick Janus wants to resume a relationship that faded ten years ago. A week-end fishing trip together could prove interesting, provided no more dead bodies pile up.
Well-intended deeds of ancestors often lead to unwise choices, even for those sworn to uphold the law. Because of her mixed heritage, Pepper has dealt with prejudice during most of her twenty-eight years and always kept her hackles lowered around bigoted people. Until now. A situation left to simmer over time builds to a confrontation that will not allow her to walk away. By the time she figures out what her cousin's missing high-top pink sneaker has to do with a letter written by a fifteen-year-old nun in Paris, the loaded revolver is cocked and aimed at Pepper’s heart....more
Kaye George’s Smoke: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery tells a fast-paced tale of a young woman, residing with her daughterA Rodeo of Mayhem and Deception
Kaye George’s Smoke: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery tells a fast-paced tale of a young woman, residing with her daughter and mother, whose main desire is to become a Private Investigator. Imogene (Immy) is taking a course in PI work and has a special how-to book she consults while she tries to investigate one untimely death after another in her small Texas town.
Even with suspected murder, there is humor at every turn, not the slapstick kind or the wisecracking snark of new, but good old-fashioned, subtle “Immy” speak that had me smiling often and laughing out loud more than once.
While reading the story, I was pleased to learn about potbelly pigs and bull riding. Both topics well researched and presented with an insider’s knowledge.
The easygoing writing style is deceptive as Ms. George stays below the radar while spinning her tale of mayhem and deception. This is not a “Cozy” as I had expected. The scenes speed up quickly and the pace of the story makes it impossible to put down.
What’s up next? Broke: An Imogene Duckworthy Mystery. ...more