This was a cute, fast little steampunk mystery and a fun diversion between novels. Not much room for character development because of the length, but the mystery moved along nicely and I liked the steampunk and sci-fi elements of the story. Nothing fantastically unique here, and I wasn't dazzled by any means, but what was done was done fairly well, and I enjoyed the little twist at the end!...more
Dr. Sheila Tao has a problem. She’s to be married soon to a wonderful man, yet she’s been having a steamy affair with her sexy teaching assistant, Ethan Wolfe. When she attempts to break off the affair, Ethan becomes extremely agitated, threatening her with footage of a supposed sex video of the two of them. Sheila has no idea of the depth of Ethan’s depravity and watches as her world starts to fall apart around her, and finds out just how appropriate Ethan’s last name may be. However, Sheila has some secrets of her own, and has struggled for years to come to terms with a past that continues to haunt her, thinking that her relationship with her new fiancé was just the kind of thing she needed to break out of the vicious cycle that her sex life used to be. She quickly realizes that Ethan Wolfe was a very, very costly mistake, and when she calls off the wedding suddenly and disappears, it’s a race against time for her fiancé in a game of cat and mouse that could ultimately cost Sheila her life. I had a great time with this book. It’s been a while since I’ve read a really good thriller, and Creep certainly fit the bill. Ethan Wolfe is as twisted as they come, and I really enjoyed the tension between captive and captor as Sheila desperately tries to get through to him in an effort to save her own life. It’s a frantic race against time as Sheila’s fiancé Morris, and the PI he hires to help, follow the winding trail of deceipt and murder that Ethan has left in his wake in order to save Sheila from a gruesome fate. The author really knows how to keep the tension humming, and creates a sense of urgency that will keep you breathlessly turning the pages all the way to the shocking climax! If you like authors such as Chelsea Cain and J.A. Konrath, you’ll love this exciting debut thriller from an author to watch! ...more
I was in the mood for a mystery, and something different, and I got both in Claire DeWitt. Claire is in post Katrina New Orleans after being hired to find a man’s uncle who went missing during the terrible flooding. Claire explains her usual high fees and begins her investigation. As Claire has witnessed time and time again, nothing is ever really what it seems, especially in a missing persons case, and soon Claire realizes that she might have her hands full with this one. Vic Willing, a high profile DA, disappeared about 18 months earlier, and his nephew Leon, feels a duty to hire someone to investigate, especially since his uncle left everything to him. Never particularly close to Vic, Leon is unable to provide many details about his uncle, but that’s ok, because Claire is on the case.
Claire DeWitt is such a quirky little book, and it manages to suck you in pretty quickly (at least it did me). Told in Claire’s wry and world weary voice, we follow her as she navigates the sometimes lawless streets of post Katrina New Orleans, digging up clues, smoking the occasional joint, and generally pestering people until she gets what she wants. Claire thinks pretty highly of her skills, having been a devotee of the famous French detective Jacques Silette, and she’s not one to let people put her off. She’s a complex character, and throughout the investigation, gives us little tidbits of insight into her childhood and past, which have much to do with the person she is today. Sporting the pain of one of her best friend, Tracy’s, disappearance at only 16, and the homemade tattoos of her and their other friend Kelly’s initials on her wrists, as well as the sudden death of her mentor, Constance, Claire is quite a force to be reckoned with. While on the case, she befriends a teenage troublemaker who may or may not have something to do with Willing’s death, is shot at, and is certainly not welcome with open arms by the secretive community.
The devastation of a storm ravaged New Orleans provides the perfect background to the investigation of a man that holds his own secrets, and parts of this story will break your heart. Ms. Gran’s prose is spare, but it certainly gets the job done, and her knowledge, and obvious love for, the fascinating history and heart of New Orleans is on full display. It comes in at a bit under 300 pages, so you’ll zip through it fairly quickly, and the author manages to pack quite an emotional punch in such a thin volume, also expertly weaving just a smidge of the supernatural in for a heady mix. This is the start of a series, so I’m sure that more will be learned about the disappearance of Claire’s childhood friend, Tracy, in future novels. At least I hope so, since it’s such a heavy burden that Claire carries. Nevertheless, Claire DeWitt is a highly entertaining and atmospheric mystery, and I can’t wait for future installments!...more
When Liz Cooper’s childhood friend,Robin,begins finding tarot cards with menacing messages tacked to her door,she doesn’t know what to think. What she does know,as the cards,and the stakes,grow higher,is that she needs to find out just who is harassing her best friend. Her search for answers will put her in touch with Nick,an old friend and theology professor who sidelines in occult studies. They soon discover that Robin’s tormentor has voodoo leanings,but voodoo and the Tarot don’t mix,and after a visit to a palm reader and charlatan who may have the key to the Tarot deck used in the threats,things get even more confusing. Not only are the threats escalating,but Liz is fighting a growing attraction (and frustration) to Nick and a mother that hounds her at every turn. Add to that an ex-husband that just won’t give up and eventually murder,and Liz will have to use everything in her resources to get to the truth.
I really enjoyed this debut novel from former music industry exec Rochelle Staab! Liz is my kind of reluctant sleuth,and her wit and tenacity kept me turning the pages. Nick frustrated me at times with his dogged devotion to the letter of the law,but provided a perfect contrast to Liz,complementing her and at the same time keeping some nice sexual tension into play,and also proving that you certainly don’t have to be in your 20’s to romance and be romanced. Liz’s mom provided a quirky (if at times annoying),but always loving,presence,even if she does keep hounding Liz to get back with her sports superstar (and cheating) ex. The voodoo elements are fascinating,and the author obviously did her homework,treating the subject with respect and attention to detail. The added fun of L.A. as the backdrop created a constant sense of urgency and fun,and Ms. Staab obviously knows the ins and outs of her setting. I’ll admit,I’m a fairly jaded mystery reader,but this one kept me on my toes,and I didn’t really get an idea of whodunit until the end,and all the clues were definitely there. To me,that’s important. Red herrings are fine,as long as they aren’t scattershot,and as long as you can look back,once the killer is revealed,and say “Ohhh,yep,those clues were there (head smack for not seeing them:). Bravo to Ms. Staab for a sparkling,fun,and solid debut mystery!...more
Rebecca Robbins has returned to tiny Indian Falls to sell the roller rink that her mother loved so much,and she’s eager to get back to Chicago where her friends and her job waits for her. Selling the roller rink may not be as easy as she thought when she finds the town handyman in the rink restroom,head in the toilet,and dead as a doornail. Rebecca has no idea who could do such a thing,but she’s determined to find out,since finding a dead guy in the bathroom really isn’t helping her sell the rink. She resolved to find the killer herself,but it seems everyone has a secret,and when she starts receiving threats to her life,she realizes she may be in over her head.
Red-headed and feisty Rebecca Robbins is my new favorite sleuth! I loved that she’s kind of a regular gal just trying to get back out of a small town that she ran from in the first place,and bewildered as to why someone would be threatening her life. She certainly doesn’t take things lying down and more than holds her own. With the distractions of a sexy local vet (who I wanted to smack a few times,but yeah,totally hot),her grandfather’s overactive libido (shudder),and an adorable camel named Elwood (who likes to wear hats),Rebecca certainly has her hands full. The local police are not much help and are well aware of Rebecca’s tendency to snoop. It’s not something they’re happy about,and certainly aren’t ready and willing to help her investigation. Sifting through the mounting clues with Rebecca was great fun,and I enjoyed getting to know the quirky inhabitants of Indian Falls. If you like a good mystery,with a small-town “cozy” vibe and a heroine you can fall in love with,you’ll adore Skating Around the Law!...more
Mel Turner,divorcee and former social anthropologist,now runs Turner Construction for her father,specializing in renovation of historic homes. When she stops in on a new jobsite,she and the owner,aging rockstar Matt Addax are confronted with Kenneth,a gravely injured man,and Matt’s partner (let’s just say it involves a nail gun and a table saw) who later dies at the hospital. With a seeming lack of other suspects,Matt is swiftly arrested,but Mel knows Matt couldn’t have done that to Kenneth,and she’s determined to find out the truth. It really doesn’t help that all of a sudden,she can see,and hear,Kenneth’s ghost. He can’t remember a thing,and he’s really no help in finding his killer,so Mel is on her own,but she soon realizes that there’s lots more to this case then meets the eye,and even she may not be safe from Kenneth’s killer.
I really enjoyed If Walls Could Talk. I like that Mel is a more mature character,closing in on 40,and doing her best not to be distracted by the handsome Graham,a blast from her past who tried to talk her out of marrying her ex,and now an OSHA employee that’s putting quite a damper on her current project. When it rains,it pours,and during her investigation,Mel finds herself getting asked out multiple times by two very different and attractive men. Her real attraction lies with Graham though (as much as she tries to fight it),and their tentative dance around each other made for some really fun tension which I’m really hoping the author will explore in future novels. Mel is a woman in a man’s world,and I enjoyed her character’s fondness for history and antiques,and the details on architectural restoration added a really interesting facet to the story. Mel also must come to grips with her sudden ability to see ghosts (possibly handed down by her mom),and I appreciated that despite some initial skepticism,Mel chose to believe what her eyes and ears were telling her. She’s no Skully,and I always get frustrated when characters ignore the obvious,usually to their detriment. The author also surrounds Mel with a fascinating supporting cast,including her father,his friend Stan,and her ex stepson,who she’s very fond of and who looks to Mel as a second mom. The setting,San Francisco,is positively radiant,adding lots of atmosphere to the story,and following the clues with Mel was great fun! Charming characters,a well-crafted mystery,fascinating historic details,and a heroine to root for make If Walls Could Talk a must read for whodunit fans!...more
I am a HUGE fan of this series, so of course I was anxious to dig in to #5! It’s been a couple of years since Document #4 (The Spellmans Strike Again), and Isabel (Izzy) Spellman a PI with her families private investigation firm, is (somewhat) settled in with her boyfriend (aka Ex-Boyfriend #13) Henry Stone, her much younger sister Rae is still up to no good, and her parents are acting strangely, particularly her mother, who all of a sudden seems very interested in taking as many pottery/language/crocheting etc. courses she can fit into her schedule, and the dreaded Grammy Spellman has dropped in for a visit. All of this is pretty normal for the Spellmans, but if you’re familiar with this series, you already know that, with them, nothing is ever what it seems.
In The Trail of the Spellmans, Izzy’s smart, dry humor is still on full display, but there is a sadness about her in this one that seems more prominent. Izzy has always been a bit aimless, but at 34, she’s watching everyone around her get on with their lives, whether it be job, family, etc. Her brother David, always so perfectly put together (not so much these days), is now a stay at home dad to his 18 month old daughter Sydney, and his lawyer wife, Maggie (Henry’s ex) seems a bit frustrated with his obsession with Sydney’s learning, and there’s a rift between David and Rae all of a sudden. Izzy has been with Henry for a while and knows that he’s got something serious on his mind, but, being the queen of avoidance and evasion that she is (seriously, it’s a talent), Izzy tries to make sure she’s anywhere but the house that they share, much to my frustration! I want so badly for Izzy to find love, and the author is amazing at stretching out the tension to handwringing levels. Don’t worry, she keeps you plenty distracted with the goings on of the Spellman clan, and the cases they’ve taken on. You think your family is weird? Trust me, they’re nothing compared with this group.
The Spellmans can be a frustrating group, but they’re also a loving group. Through everything (and there’s plenty), you never once doubt their love for each other, and their hearts are as big as their propensity for snooping (ie huge.) The clients and cases are entertaining, as always, but it’s the Spellmans that are the stars of this series. This one felt like a turning point, maturity wise, for Izzy, and our favorite hard drinking PI certainly does a bit of dreaded soul searching. Where this will lead, who knows, but I do know for sure that I’ll always be along for the ride. If you haven’t discovered this series yet, I suggest you start at The Spellman Files and work your way up. You don’t have to, but you will get attached to these characters (all of them), seriously, and it makes each book that much richer, better, funnier, you name it. And yes, you will laugh, loud and often. I drive my husband crazy reading aloud to him from these books. They’re just too damn good not to share, and you should do just that. Snag a copy of each one, read them, then share them. You don’t have to love mysteries to love the Spellmans, and you’ll identify with at least one member of this crazy family. Packed with great writing, biting wit, fun mysteries, and the utter, chaotic joy that is the Spellman clan, this is a series you don’t want to miss!...more