"The Sound of Red Returning" by Sue Duffy offers something for everyone. Musicians will immediately identify with the main character's passion for her"The Sound of Red Returning" by Sue Duffy offers something for everyone. Musicians will immediately identify with the main character's passion for her music and appreciate the concept of passing secret messages through sheet music. Mystery fans are sure to love the political intrigue, plot twists and fast-paced action. Suspense surrounds one particular character who lurks in the background, unidentified until the last chapters. Those who like a little romance will enjoy watching the candid interactions and growing attraction between Leisl and Cade. And Cade's grandfather Ian is a delightfully cantankerous character everyone will love....more
I never understood the appeal of Mona Lisa’s famously enigmatic smile until I saw it through the eyes of these characters. I also hadn't known much abI never understood the appeal of Mona Lisa’s famously enigmatic smile until I saw it through the eyes of these characters. I also hadn't known much about the Nazi occupation of France or the art thefts during World War II, or about the continuing political unrest after the Allies arrived. It was fascinating to learn about some of this history from an "insider’s" perspective, if you will.
Chasing Mona Lisa seems to be a well-researched novel, and the plot twists just kept coming. The emotions were intense and changed quickly as the characters carefully plotted their next move, waited restlessly for information, or rescuing a friend, or running for their lives. I did get confused a few times though; Eric and Gabi often alluded to their previous mission (I haven’t read the previous book, The Swiss Courier) and some of the German characters were hard to distinguish from one another for most of the story.
Normally spy novels aren't really my cup of tea, but I did like this one, so I think I just might have to go track down a copy of The Swiss Courier next!...more
True Courage might just be the best of Dee Henderson's "Uncommon Heroes" series (it's actually been reprinted with the title Kidnapped as a stand-alonTrue Courage might just be the best of Dee Henderson's "Uncommon Heroes" series (it's actually been reprinted with the title Kidnapped as a stand-alone novel unrelated to the series). Unlike the previous three, True Courage centers on an FBI agent as opposed to a military man, and after a short prologue to set the scene, it doesn't waste any time jumping into the action.
In some ways, it's classic Henderson style - romantic, suspenseful and you just know it's got to have a happy ending. The characters' faith in God's plan is clear, even as they occasionally struggle with trusting Him. It's inspirational and heart-warming without being overly pious or sappy.
It's the element of mystery, though, that makes it one of Henderson's best. While her other novels always have a something to solve, in True Courage she takes the reader through ups and downs, false answers and plot twists that keep you guessing until the very last chapter. This one goes on my "keepers" shelf for sure....more
Starting off strong, with an intriguing premise, vivid descriptions and likable characters, The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead, leaves too many looseStarting off strong, with an intriguing premise, vivid descriptions and likable characters, The Skin Map by Stephen R. Lawhead, leaves too many loose ends to be a five-star novel, but it’s a fascinating enough preview to earn four stars and put its sequel on my reading list for next year. ...more
A Trail of Ink is my favorite in this series so far. I especially enjoyed the character of Kate, and not just because we share the same name! The rappA Trail of Ink is my favorite in this series so far. I especially enjoyed the character of Kate, and not just because we share the same name! The rapport between Kate and Hugh is delightful, sparkling with wit and veiled flirtation perfect for the time period. One particular conversation about Hugh as the thief of Kate’s heart comes to mind. Combined with Starr’s well-researched use of medieval vocabulary and speech patterns, the relationship is reminiscent of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy – minus the latter pair’s early animosity.
Speaking of vocabulary, I found the short glossary provided at the front of the book invaluable, although it’s also the subject of my one complaint: it was too short! It easily could have been twice as long, without detracting from the novel itself. Of course, I’m the type that leans toward over-informing
Overall, A Trail of Ink and its predecessors is a fresh, worthwhile read. While it’s categorized as a “whodunit” or murder mystery, the pace of the book sets it far apart from modern suspense genre. Given the tools available to a 14th century detective, the plot necessarily moves slower and, IMO, becomes even more enjoyable as the reader can experience all the nuanced historical complications....more