#BookReview: The Girl’s Last Cry by Alison Belsham

Pulse Pounding Criminal Innovation. This is the book that cements the Lexi Bennett series as must read, as it starts off feeling a touch like a disaster flick – everything is normal-ish, except that someone has jumped from a tall building seemingly intentionally. Then the deeper into the story we get, we find an almost Kilgrave level villain (though to be clear – just a human, no superpowers)… and this is where the story *really* takes off, becoming ever more inventive, ever more cat and mouse almost perfect spy thriller type… except that this is a police procedural where murders are being investigated. The ending sequences are some of the most inventive and innovative of all, going particularly dark even. As in, I’m not sure even Preston and Child get *this* dark and twisted, even with Diogenese Pendergast. Which is high praise in that particular arena, because if you like that particular style… you *know* how good Preston and Child are there. Belsham here *may* have truly bested them. Seriously.

Ultimately, this is one of those tales that you’re going to need and light and funny comedy to bring back your mental balance from, and for those that struggle with suicidal ideation… perhaps not the book for you until you deal with those issues. Still, very much recommended.

This review of The Girl’s Last Cry by Alison Belsham was originally written on June 30, 2023.

#BookReview: And Then There Was You by Nancy Naigle

Slow Burn Hallmarkie Southern Romance. This is another of those books that almost seems destined for the small screen on the Hallmark Channel or one of its newer competitors. But here, the romance is *very* slow burn, taking nearly all of this books 350 or so pages to finally get the couple together – and even then, they barely kiss, much less anything else. So this is definetly more for the “sweet” and/ or “clean” crowd than the crowd that wants damn near erotica level sex in the first chapter. (You know what I mean, and you know who you are.) Cursing is next to non-existent here, and may even be completely non-existent – I certainly don’t remember any. Prayers, church attendance, mentions of God and Jesus… those are far more plentiful – and just as accurate to the Southern small mountain town setting as the broken families, abuse, and alcoholism that are also discussed, but which take place long before this book and are only discussed – not shown “on screen”.

Indeed, the bulk of the tale is a woman being conned… and then trying to re-establish her life after very nearly everything other than her breath is taken from her. Here, the book truly shines as the reader feels quite viscerally everything our lead is going through, as well as just how much the investigator assigned to her case wants to solve it for her. Naigle uses this structure to first get our lead to the point of being willing to move – and then to show the small town that will serve as the basis for the rest of this series (more on that momentarily) as an outsider would see it, for all its wonders and faults.

Really the only thing quite obviously missing here is an obvious second book, as this is listed as “number one” in a new series. As the series name is the same as the town name, clearly the town itself will be central to this series, and thus its establishment here is quite solid indeed. There’s just no real obvious “oh, this is who we’re tracking in the next book” set up. Or maybe I just missed it?

Overall a solid tale of its type, one that some will absolutely adore and others will find… the nearest window to throw it out of. Still, for what it is, truly a good tale, well told. Very much recommended.

This review of And Then There Was You by Nancy Naigle was originally written on June 8, 2023.

#BookReview: Little Ghosts by Gregg Dunnett

Chilling Thriller With A Unique Take On Ghosts. Straight up, know that this book is about a child murder – if you can’t handle that, this isn’t the book for you. For those of you still here, Dunnett does a solid job of showing the aftereffects of an unsolved child murder on the family the child leaves behind, before transitioning into a cat and mouse game to try to stop the killer before he strikes again. These elements of the story are well done, but have been done time and time and time again… and again and again and again. To the point that there is an entire genre of these types of tales, and this tale is on par with its genre mates – if you like the genre, you’re probably going to like this one, and vice versa.

What sets this book apart, really, is its take oh ghosts – how they present, what abilities they have, what they know, etc. And here, Dunnett really does a remarkable job of showing how his particular brand of ghosts could work within the overall story being told here. Overall a truly entertaining book with an intriguing take on ghosts. Very much recommended.

This review of Little Ghosts by Gregg Dunnett was originally written on May 9, 2023.

#BookReview: Retribution by Robert McCaw

Propulsive And Explosive. This is one of those books where every challenge only leads to a more difficult challenge – and the challenges don’t start easy for our hardened and capable yet flawed hero. As the stakes rise ever higher, attacking everyone Koa Kane loves, can he save… anyone? Even himself? Well, this is an action book seemingly in the middle of an already successful series. So he’s going to save people, that’s what heroes do in these types of books. But McCaw grounds these books in a fair amount of realism as well, and therefore… well, some may die. Or may not. You’ll have to read the tale to see what happens. ๐Ÿ˜€ But that ending, setting up an explosive confrontation with a foe Kane thought conclusively dealt with… yeeah… I’m absolutely looking forward to seeing where McCaw takes this series next. Very much recommended.

This review of Retribution by Robert McCaw was originally written on January 1, 2023.

#BookReview: Cultured by D.P. Lyle

Laid-Back Mystery With Bite. Here in this sixth entry of D.P. Lyle’s Gulf Coast based mysteries, we see so much of what makes this series so great. There is quite a bit of humor, a great sense of laid back Gulf Coast small town life, and a mystery that could prove to be either nothing at all or quite sinister indeed. Human/ Sex Trafficking is mentioned early as a possibility of what is happening, though to reveal if it actually is would be a massive spoiler. Just be prepared for the possibility, if that is a major no-go for your own reading tastes. Overall this is truly a great book full of heart and humor all wrapped up in a satisfyingly complex and dangerous-enough mystery. Very much recommended.

This review of Cultured by D.P. Lyle was originally written on December 2, 2022.

#BookReview: An Unexpected Distraction by Catherine Bybee

Organic Romance – In A Romance Book???? Let’s face it, so many times in a romance book, the romance feels at least somewhat contrived. “Oh, you’re *really* going to go completely against your established character for this person you just randomly met?” kind of stuff. This isn’t the case here. Instead, Bybee crafts one of the more genuinely organic romances I’ve ever seen in a romance book… while still having her lead female kick ass and take names later. Fans of the Richter books largely know what you’re getting into here, and while this *does* work as a standalone, there *are* a lot of established external characters and backstories that you’re going to want to know up front. Thus, while you don’t have to go *all* the way back to its actual origins a couple of series ago, I absolutely recommend at minimum starting with Richter #1 and working your way to this book. But if you do… you’re going to want to get here anyway. ๐Ÿ™‚ Very much recommended.

This review of An Unexpected Distraction by Catherine Bybee was originally written on November 7, 2021.

#BlogTour: The Crying House by BR Spangler

For this blog tour, we’re looking at one hell of a creepy murder mystery that is semi-deep in a series and contains near immediate spoilers for the previous book. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Crying House by BR Spangler.

Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:

You’ll Never Look At Ye Olden Ways The Same Again. This was my first book from Spangler, and is the 4th book in this particular series. It picks up seemingly some period of time after the events of Book 3, and immediately spoils some of the ending there. So if you have particular cares about such… start at Book 1 here and work your way here. As a police procedural / murder mystery of the book type series, this one actually works quite well and features a technique (used in a variety of ways) that will both creep you out and cause you to think twice about certain olden ways of doing certain things. What were y’all *really* up to, humanity of old???? Several different deaths drive the action here, and there is indeed quite a bit of action along with the mystery, including a pulse pounding race to… well, not quite the finale, but the effective end (+ some exposition) of that particular thread. And then another bit of action to resolve the other main thread before ending on a series explosion big enough that you’re going to want the next book in your hands immediately. Very much recommended.

Below the jump, the various publisher details of the book, including a description, author bio, and links to social media and to buy the book. ๐Ÿ™‚
Continue reading “#BlogTour: The Crying House by BR Spangler”

#BookReview: Blood Kin by Matt Hilton

Tess And Po With Elements Of Reacher And The Lottery. This is only my second Tess and Po book, but I’ve quickly fallen in love… and noticed the basic pattern. (Which is the same basic pattern most books of this type have. Brief interlude of “normal life” leads into some inciting incident – in this case, Tess and Po stumbling into a mother and child in peril – leads to an investigation which leads to action. It is a successful pattern given how often it is employed across so many books, and it is well executed here.) When we get to the investigation/ action stages is when this book evokes one of the more memorable Reacher tales due to the similarity of the enemy faced (controlling militia type). And then we bring in elements of the ultra-creepy The Lottery to boot. Completely a Tess and Po story, but the common elements serve to enhance it even more (assuming you’ve read those tales, anyway :D). A final note: This *is* deep in a series of investigative/ police procedurals. It can work as a standalone/ entry point as long as you don’t mind seeing more advanced stages of the investigative team’s life together, but if you’re a reader that doesn’t like any level of spoiler of previous books, you’re going to want to start at Book 1 and get to here. Because if you do start at Book 1… just go ahead and buy the entire series. You’re going to want to have them on hand as you finish each one anyway. Hell, I’m already wishing I had Book 9 in my hands, and this one doesn’t even release to the public for nearly a month! Very much recommended.

This Review of Blood Kin by Matt Hilton was originally written on July 7, 2021.