Tag Archives: Mystery

FIVE GREAT READS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS!

FIVE READS
FIVE AUTHORS
FIVE GENRES

99p/99c

FIVE DAYS ONLY

Discover a new author? Try something different? All of the authors below are offering readers the chance to download one of their ebooks that has received great reviews and has a high star rating. For the next five days you can download and enjoy any of these titles for just 99p or 99c  (from 10th–15th June). Just click on the links to view any book on Amazon!

 

What Jennifer Knows
Contemporary women’s fiction

what-jennifer-knows-cover

 

 

“I started off liking What Jennifer Knows…I finished the novel loving it.” ~ Judith Barrow, author and creative writing tutor.

Sensitively drawn characters charm us… The shifting nature of loyalty and love is portrayed through searingly honest glimpses into the characters lives, both past and present.” ~ Jenny Worstall, author and musician.

Jennifer Jacobs unwittingly discovers a link between two of her friends. Should she speak out or stay silent?

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What I Did Not Say
Mystery/thriller

What I did not say cover

 

 

“Outstanding mystery/thriller. I was blown away by this novel…” ~ Babus Ahmed,  Amazon Top 1000 reviewer and prolific book blogger.

 “Part 2 was the trial, where the pace and tension were excellent. The pages seemed to  turn themselves.” ~ Amazon reviewer. 

Jessica Morley is on her way to meet with a man she has not seen for fifteen years. In her bag  there is a package she must deliver.

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The Sickness
Supernatural horror

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“If you like your supernatural horror to be dark, gruesome and unequivocally gory, then  this is the book for you. It is explosive, expertly written and riveting.” ~
Shelley Wilson, author of The Guardians, YA fiction novels.

“This book is subtly rather than in-your-face     creepy, and the story unfolds at a steady pace, building up to an explosive end; this is a  writer who totally ‘gets’ suspense.” ~
Terry Tyler, author of nine highly rated novels, including The House of York.

Forced home to attend his parents’ funeral, James Harris returns to a place of childhood  torment and gruesome horror.

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Death Times Three
Cozy mystery

Death_Times_Three_Cover_for_Kindle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Elinor (Gray) is a wonderful amateur sleuth—shes whip-smart and determined without coming across as nosy or arrogant.” ~ Elizabeth Maria  Naranjo. 

“I’m a sucker for stories involving a female who can’t resist sticking her nose into a  curious puzzle and the attractive man who can’t stop her.” ~ Terri Case.

A Las Vegas librarian trips over a murdered artist and an amateur sleuth is born. Two short  stories and a novella.

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The House of York
Contemporary family drama

House of York

 

 

 

“The ending to the story kept me thinking for days.” ~ Shaz Goodwin, book blogger and  Amazon Top 100 reviewer.

“Best book I’ve read this year.” ~ Joanne Phillips, top selling women’s fiction author.

Love, loss, jealousy, abduction and murderous intent form the basis of this highly acclaimed,  complex family saga spanning the years 1993 – 2014.

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Jackson & Washington’s DIAL L FOR LYNDA

* I received a copy of this book in return for a fair review.

Best friends turn detectives when one is arrested for the murder of her boss.

Dial L for Lynda (Linda & Lynda Detective Agency Book 1)

Dial L for Lynda

Having read a lot of Tracey Jane Jackson’s work, I was excited to learn that she was collaborating with Amanda Washington and branching into a new genre. DIAL L FOR LYNDA is a funny, sexy, well-plotted mystery. It might seem surprising to find wealthy, stylish Addison Allen’s best friend since childhood is a financially-strapped girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Harley James has been a hard worker from an early age and earned herself a scholarship to a pricey private school, which is where she met Addison and her twin brother Asher. They’ve been close ever since, though not as close as Asher would like. Harley keeps him at arm’s length as she tries to build a career that makes her feel more on his social/financial level. It’s her job that becomes the problem when she’d fired by her lecherous boss and then he ends up dead outside her apartment.

Jackson and Washington give us amusing, well developed characters who manage to get into all sorts of oddball scrapes as they try to find the real killer. Asher, a serious, sensible lawyer is a great foil for his emotionally overwrought sister. Whereas Asher tries to help Harley by becoming her legal advocate, Addie actually tries to get herself arrested so she can keep Harley company in jail over the weekend until a Monday bond hearing. And that’s just a taste of the lengths this wacky blonde will go to in order to protect her bestie. Though it doesn’t hurt that the lead detective is a tasty morsel who inspires all sorts of fantasies.

The comedy, mystery and romance are kept in fine balance. Jackson and Washington do a great job leading us through the tangled motives of the real killer, who came as a surprise to me, but is completely believable. Two small issues. The first was with Addie and Asher’s parents. They are a little too cliche “rich and snooty.” I would’ve liked more nuanced characterizations. Also the Linda/Lynda link seems a little forced. Even the authors can’t really explain the logic behind it. Harley’s middle name is Linn, and Lynda is the name Addie and Asher give to their GPS systems. Addie also uses it for a special phone line to throw off unwanted suitors.

Name confusion aside, DIAL L FOR LYNDA had me laughing out loud and reading way past my bedtime. Can’t wait for the next one.

Meet Mystery Author Jamie Cortland

Author Jamie Cortland

Author Jamie Cortland

My Genre:

Romantic Suspense.

I started writing because:

I love to tell stories.

The best thing about writing:

The journey from the beginning to the end.

My favorite read:

The “Sixth Grave on the Edge” by Darynda Jones.  What a journey that is!

Weslynn McCallister, pseudonym, Jamie Cortland was born in Evansville, Indiana and raised in Roswell, New Mexico. Today, she lives in the southwest. A published novelist and an award winning poet, she is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Mystery Writers of America, and is a founding member of the Florida Writers Association.

Website URL: Weslynn McCallister, Author www.jamiecortland.com

Facebook URL: https//www.facebook.com/jamiecortland

Twitter: Weslynn McCallister@twitter

 

Dying to Dance 3D Book Cover

 

Buy Dying to Dance

Char and Diana Mansville, two sisters in their early twenties, lose their parents in a tragic accident. Finding themselves on the brink of financial disaster, they re-locate to southwest Florida to live with their aunt, a beautiful and wealthy ballroom dancer.
Once there, they meet handsome and charismatic Roland Donovan, who is a sociopath and involved in a deadly insurance scheme. Stricken by Diana’s beauty and charm, he sets his focus upon her and relentlessly begins his pursuit of her.

Meet Mystery Author Cheryl Hollon

 

Author Cheryl Hollon

Author Cheryl Hollon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My genre: I write a cozy mystery series based on the family-owned Webb’s Glass Shop in St. Petersburg, Florida.

I started writing because: I found the contrast between the hard science of flight simulation versus the peaceful zen of writing inspired me to achieve more in both.

The best thing about being a writer: Readers – cozy mystery readers are loyal, enthusiastic and a joy to meet at conferences and signings.

My current favorite read: The Shepherd’s Crown (Tiffany Aching) by Terry Pratchett

Cover Shards of Murder

 

 

 

About Shards of Murder:

When a glass-making competition turns deadly, glass shop owner Savannah Webb must search for a window into a criminal’s mind…

As the new proprietor of Webb’s Glass Shop, Savannah has been appointed to fill her late father’s shoes as a judge for the Spinnaker Arts Festival, held in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. With her innovative glass works, the clear winner is Megan Loyola, a student of Savannah’s former mentor.

But when Megan doesn’t show up to accept her $25,000 award, rumors start flying. And when Savannah discovers the woman’s dead body on festival grounds, the police immediately suspect her of murder. To keep from appearing before a judge herself, Savannah sorts through the broken pieces of glass scattered around the victim for clues as to who took this killer competition too far. . .

Buy Pane & Suffering
Buy Shards of Murder

About Cheryl Hollon

Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India. Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind the house, Cheryl and her husband George design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks.

You can visit Cheryl and her books at

http://www.cherylhollon.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Hollon-Writer/357992230995844
http://www.twitter.com/cherylhollon

Death & Dominion by Carol Hedges

In this third murder mystery starring Victorian-era London detectives Stride & Cully, a case of arsenic poisoning becomes something much more sinister.

Death & Dominion: A Victorian Sensation Novel

Death & Dominion: A Victorian Sensation Novel

One thing that amazes me about this series is how Carol Hedges manages to set her novels firmly in their time and place and still give each book a twist that makes it completely unique. For DIAMONDS & DUST (my review), that means a scary, otherworldly flavor. HONOUR & OBEY (my review) out-Dickens Dickens in its realistic lens on the social and economic inequities of the era, while at the same time setting loose a gruesome serial killer who would make Jack The Ripper tremble in admiration. This time around the author dips her pen into the Victorian “sensation” novel, with its domestic melodrama, smooth-talking con-men, and cunning acts of revenge.

The plot of DEATH & DOMINION seems straight-forward at first–murder by arsenic poisoning–but things get complicated as the bodies multiply and useful leads lay thin on the ground. Detectives Stride & Cully, still the favorite prey of the local gutter press, are stonewalled by some of London’s most genteel ladies and gentlemen, who have more to hide than most courtesans–including our favorite ex-madam, Lilith Marks. Her cameo appearance is one of my favorite things about the book. I also enjoyed the Belinda Kite subplot. This “lady’s companion” with a murky past is a great mix of vulnerability and daring. She and the handsome trickster Mark Hawksley are a perfect match. Awful as they are (well, as awful he is and she would LIKE to be) I found myself rooting for them.

Hedges does a wonderful job exposing the seedy underbelly of Victorian propriety, especially when it comes to marriage and fidelity. I followed with morbid fascination the icy home life of Frederick and Georgiana Undershaft. Georgiana’s situation and her personal quandary–what does a good wife have the right to expect from her husband–remained with me long after I finished the book.

I will say that the wrap up of both the main plot and the sub-plot left me a little dissatisfied. Here I need to take care not to ruin it for you. Let’s say that both main parties get what they deserve, though the means of this “rough justice” is highly melodramatic. Now, this fits right in with the conventions of the Sensation Novel–soap opera at its finest. I can appreciate this, but being a modern reader, I would have preferred a more extended and character-driven wrap up.

Review: MINE

A young woman whose marriage has hit a rough patch returns to her hometown and helps local authorities investigate a series of unexpected deaths.

Mine: a novella

Mine: a novella

Fiona Quinn manages to pack a lot of story into this novella without making the pacing feel rushed. Kate Hamilton, forced to leave her home in Boston due to her soldier husband’s PTSD, returns to the small Virginia town where she grew up at around the same time as her ornery Uncle Owen dies of what seems like a heart attack. Kate is there to work as a CSI intern with the local police department. Tim Gibbons, her supervisor, also happens to be her first love. He’s now married with children, but he’s still obviously attracted to her. Their history and a tangled situation with a neighbor interested in opening a lucrative mining operation mean that Kate is stepping into a snake pit of conflict and competing agendas. It’s against this chaotic background that she discovers suspicious connections between several recent deaths–including her Uncle Owen’s.

Scarborough is depicted with such detail that I felt I could locate the place on a map. All the quaint beauties of small-town life bump up against the seething resentments and never-ending feuds that often infect such insular places. The town is populated with a nice mix of expected southern characters–the rich girl whose sparkling life isn’t what it seems, the bigger-than-life politician who may or may not be for sale, the blustering high school bully who grew into a threatening schemer, the local busybody who spreads venomous rumors as unfounded as they are damaging.
Though readers will be familiar with all of these “types,” Quinn makes each one interesting and a bit more complicated than they might appear.

The romantic tension between Kate and Tim is perfectly balanced. We sense that there is something there, but this potential for sparks doesn’t undermine our belief in Kate’s feelings for or loyalty to Ryan, her troubled husband. Kate and Tim’s backstory feeds a lot of present tension. It would have been a little more exciting if we got to meet Tim’s insecure wife. She makes a brief appearance and is referred to, but that’s about it.

I’m on the fence about Quinn’s ending. I don’t want to spoil it for you. I’ll just say that I expected Kate to be the one who unveiled the killer. She closes on the How and the Why of the killings. The Who is discovered and neutralized by the least likely character in the book. Looking back, this is a clever move, as (along with Kate) we are forced to completely reevaluate our alliances. At the time I first read it, though, I felt a little cheated.
The discomfort was momentary.

MINE is a well-paced mystery packed with character and suspense.

Review: THE LAST CONVERT

When the death of a family friend leads journalist Lukas Novak to investigate a cluster of strange deaths in a nursing home, he uncovers a diabolical scheme with roots deep in the past.

The Last Convert: A Lukas Novak Mystery (The HemiHelix Effect Book 1)

The Last Convert: A Lukas Novak Mystery

This is a prequel to Match Games, a full length Lukas Novak mystery. That book kept me on my toes from first page to last. You can read my review HERE.  The Last Convert has the same complex characterization and an equally intricate plot. We get to meet Lukas in a dark hour. His marriage is over and his wife is bent on alienating him from his children and ruining him financially. Poor guy can’t take a breath without fear that something negative will be reported back to her attorney and used to bankrupt him. To be fair, Lukas has spent his whole marriage hiding the fortune he inherited from his famous brother, a rock star whose recordings still bring in a tidy sum long after his unhappy death.

The point here is that Lukas is in a fragile frame of mind as the book opens during the funeral of a close friend. This emotional vulnerability clouds his judgement as he investigates the events surrounding the man’s death and the surprising beneficiaries of his will. I don’t want to tell too much. I’ll just say Lukas isn’t prepared for the extent of the conspiracy he’s stumbled upon. Nor is he aware how deep in the past the seeds of the crime are buried. The villain behind it all isn’t just some murdering con man out to get his hands on the victims’ worldly goods. There’s a deep pathology involved. A terrible history that will repeat and repeat unless Lukas can put a stop to it. And it’s not clear that he’ll be able to do that.

It’s amazing to me how much character and suspense Schirmer packs into this relatively short work. Yet the pacing is right on. There’s no sense that she’s cramming in plot points or forcing the action.

THE LAST CONVERT is a gritty and action-packed thriller that will keep your heart pounding until the very end.

Review: WITCH BAY

A troubled young woman returns to the seaside village of her childhood determined to discover the truth behind her aunt’s shocking death.

Witch Bay

Amazon US
Amazon UK

WITCH BAY captured my imagination on so many levels. The setting is beautifully rendered–a small village on the rocky coast of Wales. The atmosphere is heavy with dread from page one. It brought to mind the work of Daphne du Maurier. Especially her wonderful JAMAICA INN.
The characters are varied and quirky. You don’t know who to trust. I didn’t even fully trust Bethan. She’s an odd sort of heroine. Vulnerable but prickly. Earnest but perhaps not completely reliable. A woman of good intentions but questionable judgement. Gwyn, the local police officer, is just as layered. At first glance he seems the quintessential small village Bobby, but his easy-going demeanor masks a keen mind and powerful instincts. The sparks between Gwyn and Bethan take a little time to ignite, mostly because neither one seems to know what to make of the other.

The sense of time in the first few chapters is a little disorienting. At points Bethan’s childhood reflections get mixed up with her feelings about the present. It took me a little while to figure out how long her aunt’s been dead and when the last time Bethan saw her. Also, the book takes place in the mid 1980s, though you don’t learn this until chapter four. At first the author’s decision to set the book when she did seemed odd, but it makes sense once we discover details of the crime at the center of the mystery. I can’t go into specifics without spoiling the story, except to say that the plot likely would not have worked after the formation of the EU.

The mystery itself isn’t particularly complex. There are plenty of clues as to who is behind it, though one of the baddies did come as a major surprise. The fun is trying to figure out how all the pieces fit together. The item discovered under the floorboards, the local construction project that seems to have gone on forever, the seemingly random individuals who’ve gone missing over the past few years. The plotting is excellent, especially at the climax. I had no idea how Bethan was going to get out of the fix the villains had put her in.

I do wish that Crompton had been a bit more generous with her denouement. Another three to five pages would have been enough. Allow us the pleasure of seeing what became of some of the other characters involved that exciting final battle.

Overall, I had a good time with WITCH BAY. Crompton does a wonderful job mixing romance, suspense, and a good dose of humor. It’s a fascinating little world she’s created, and I enjoyed spending time there. I can definitely see myself giving this book a second read.

Review: WORKMAN’S COMPLICATION

A way-way-off-Broadway actress inherits her father’s PI business and finds herself in the middle of the life insurance fraud investigation which led to his murder.

Workman's Complication (McCall & Company Book 1)

Workman’s Complication

Kate McCall is in her mid-forties and resigned to the fact that she’s never going to get her big break. This doesn’t dissuade her from continuing her acting career, much to the chagrin of her son, a NYC DA. As the novel opens, Kate has the lead in a campy vampire musical and subsidizes her professional gigs by managing the apartment building where she lives. It’s a bit of a patched-together existence, but Kate’s content. Then her father, a private investigator, is murdered in a gruesome manner and leaves her his business…including an open case involving a contractor whose whole family faces ruin thanks to a construction worker’s false injury claim. Kate doesn’t want anything to do with detective work, but the client is paying good money. At the same time, she begins investigating the circumstances surrounding her father’s murder.

With two separate mysteries to solve, Kate (and author Rick Leder) take on a lot. Luckily there’s a cast of unique and helpful characters from Kate’s theater company and her apartment building to lend a hand. Leder does a good job keeping the separate cases going without confusion, but the sheer number of characters (and associated back stories) can overwhelm at times. There were a couple of instances where I had to go back and remind myself which character grew pot in the apartment’s back garden and which had to pee in Gatorade bottles due to a perpetually non-functioning toilet.

The book is funny with a capital F and full of unexpected twists. Leder lands Kate in tight spot after tight spot and always manages to get her out in humorous yet believable ways. Several scenes stand out for me even weeks after finishing the book: Kate and a fellow actor posing as Feds and interviewing the “injured” construction worker’s grandmother, Kate and another set of actor friends infiltrating the office of a crooked doctor, the indomitable Fu rescuing Kate from certain death in a Queens bungalow. Each of these scenes ends with a bang of one sort or other–whether from a tea kettle, flying lawn furniture, or a mean right hook.

Kate is incredibly likable and it was a hoot how–thanks to decades in various small-time acting roles–she has a clothes closet full of wigs and costumes to draw upon when she has to impersonate a banker or a reporter or a sweet mid-westerner. It’s also refreshing to spend time with a heroine who is tipping into middle age. As bright and mature as she is, there’s also a freshness and vulnerability to Kate. It makes readers relate to her, but it also gets her into trouble.

The only issue I had with the book was how heavy it is with detail. Not only are there tons of characters (each with a story), every scene is filled with Kate’s impressions and ruminations. Every town she visits. Every person she runs into. It’s all material for her to chew over and expound upon. This slows the pacing down at times to the point where I caught myself skimming until the real action picked up again.

Still, WORKMAN’S COMPLICATIONS is a highly entertaining mystery full of great characters.

Review: THE BODY IN THE LIBRARY

When Colonel and Mrs. Bantry wake to a dead blonde in the library of Gossington Hall, only their friend Miss Jane Marple can get to the bottom of the killing and save the couple’s reputation.

The Body in the Library (Miss Marple, #3)

The Body in the Library

I was pleasantly surprised by the breezy pacing and snappy dialog. Very fresh for such a vintage tale. The narrator has a strong, amusing voice. Christie does a wonderful job depicting the saccharine viciousness of village life with dark humor, as the Colonel is slowly but definitively shunned by his shallow neighbors.

It did bother me that though Miss Marple is brought in early, she vanishes from the entire middle section of the novel. The local police inspectors get more stage time than she does by far. They are interesting enough and quite clever, but it does take away from the cozy charm. There are also a lot of characters to keep track of for such a short novel. I had to go back and re-read at times to remind myself who was who.

A fun read, but not one of my favorites from this author.