When Art Imitates Life. This deep in this particular series, you really need to read the first two books in the series – which are both excellent, btw – in order to fully understand all that is going on here… and to avoid major spoilers from each of those two books. Once you’ve read those books, you’re going to want this one on hand anyway, as it picks up shortly after the events of Book 2. Once again, the crime being investigated is one Bratt had heard a similar tale of in her real life, and once again (as is so often in Bratt’s writing), those who have paid attention to her for in some cases not long at all will notice other details of her life making their way onto the page. In a glancing reference here, we get a reference to a child currently living on Maui, as Bratt’s own youngest daughter currently does. But much more interestingly, there is a minor plot point here – that helps build into something that could become much larger – that those familiar with Bratt’s postings on social media from just a few months ago will be all too familiar with. To be clear, while the character here pursues the more criminal method that Bratt was *tempted* to do in real life, in real life Bratt did in fact pursue numerous *legal* methods of achieving the same result. Her socials are worth perusing for that story alone, for those that also come to enjoy her fictional work. 🙂 Overall another solid tale that expands the world while also keeping the “freak of the week” episodic nature of the series intact. Very much recommended.
This review of In My Life by Kay Bratt was originally written on March 13, 2023.
Perfect Series Starter. This is one of those short novellas that is specifically designed to introduce a new series and its backstory so that these setup details all reside in a common point and the author can simply continue each individual story without having to rehash every word here within them – and as such, works absolutely perfectly. Quite a bit happens in these 72 pages, but every bit of it serves to show the world in which this new series will be set and set the basics of what to expect in each of the remaining books – specifically, it is rather obvious that each future book will be about one of the children and the match they are given, likely while continuing other elements found here (specifically involving the murder mystery and other secrets the children may or may not be aware of) as a form of connective tissue throughout.
Ultimately the entire point of an entry novella such as this is to whet the reader’s appetite for the series and induce them to auto-buy the entire damn thing, and the only true weakness to Thompson’s strategy there is that only the next book in the series is currently available for pre-order. 😉 Otherwise, this novella does its job spectacularly. Very much recommended.
This review of The Making Of A Matchmaker by Tess Thompson was originally written on February 23, 2023.
For this blog tour we’re looking at another solid entry in a lengthening police procedural series… that happens to have one of the most explosive final few pages of any book in its series to date. For this blog tour we’re looking at Their Resting Place by B.R. Spangler.
Here’s what I had to say on Goodreads:
Another Solid Entry In Series. This is one of those police procedural, deep in series, books where you don’t *have* to read earlier books first – enough of the backstory is explained to be able to follow here – but if you’re a “NO SPOILERS EVER!!!!” type… read the series from Book 1. Seriously, there are references and explanations all the way back that far in this one. For the rest of us, this is a great entry into the series, yet again another with a particularly grisly murder mechanism and with equally solid relationship based drama. Spangler does well to keep every book in the series well grounded on both sides of the formula, and it continues to work well for him. This one in particular is another where there is a surprise reveal at the end such that you’re going to want the next book *immediately* – I know I already do. Very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details”, including book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: Their Resting Place by B.R. Spangler”
Hot Chicks. Cool Gulf Breeze. Fast Cars. Compelling Mystery. What’s Not To Like? Another reviewer 2*’d this book citing the line herein about men never progressing beyond the maturity of a 14yo – and noting that the book was entirely written for said 14yo and that this was a *bad* thing.
Um, no. This book is written for *adults*, with quite a bit of four letter words (and not “four” or “word”) and sex… well, anywhere Jake and Nicole can find a few minutes alone. Even on a stakeout. There is also a decently high body count, including a few particularly grisly murders and at least a tease of a rape threat (that, to be clear, never *really* develops – a bit of a spoiler, perhaps, but a needed one, for some).
So this is written for adults, but adults who enjoy a more laid back approach. Not every mystery tale has to be Big City Something or some frenetic John Wick / Jeremy Robinson / Matthew Reilly balls to the wall action with guns blazing and other weapons flying all over the place all the time.
This tale is written for those who enjoy the more laid back vibes of the Gulf shores of the US or the general Caribbean region, who want their murders with their margaritas as they sit by the pool on a cruise ship (exactly what I was doing while reading part of this book, fwiw). And as the first book in what I now know to be a decently long running series (I’ve now worked books 5 and 6 – or is it 4 and 5? – as Advance Reader Copies over the last couple of years before now coming back to the books I missed), this one sets up everything I already knew I loved from the series. Indeed, Jake and Nicole’s meeting is both abrupt and quite hilarious, and I love how both prove themselves capable in their own ways in this very first outing.
Truly a great, fun, relaxed book perfect for those pool side drinking days – or any other place you may find yourself reading it. Very much recommended.
This review of Deep Six by D. P. Lyle was originally written on January 31, 2023.
Another Fun And Hilarious Bones Adventure. Yet again we find Bones getting called off in search of some cryptid and getting sucked into some minor-ish mystery, with all of the usual tracking, fighting, wisecracking, and bone cracking this generally entails with this character. Another short tale at barely 120 pages (in the Kindle edition anyway), this is an easy read perfect for when you need a quick break from reality. As it does heavily reference characters from previous Bones adventures, those at minimum are recommended reading before this one, even if you don’t want to get into the larger Maddock universe quite yet (which is also very much recommended and more tangentially referenced, as in nothing there plays a truly essential role here the way characters from prior Bones stories do). As always here, very much looking forward to the next one and this one is very much recommended.
This review of Lair Of The Swamp Witch by David Wood was originally written on January 28, 2023.
If We Don’t Get A Sequel, We Riot! Or we at least start jokingly pestering McKinnon until she finally caves and gives us the sequel this story demands. And I in particular have a history with more than one author of eventually getting my way in these matters – through nothing more than constant begging. 😀 Read this book, and join my campaign!
Seriously though y’all, this book starts out a touch slow ish – Frankie is in anger management and meets a guy. But as things start to pick up, they *really* start to pick up. Then, it appears that McKinnon has shot her shot a touch early and we get into almost a Return of The King situation (where the ending begins to feel long and drawn out for no obvious reason)… except those last few pages. That is where you’re going to join my campaign to demand a sequel from McKinnon, and we will eventually win this battle and get our sequel.
One of McKinnon’s better books – which is saying quite a bit in and of itself, as McKinnon really is a masterful storyteller across all the books I’ve read from her – and I do believe the first I’ve ever demanded a sequel from. Yes, the story and particular its ending are that compelling. Very much recommended.
This review of The Revenge List by Hannah Mary McKinnon was originally written on January 13, 2023.
For this blog tour, we’re looking at one of the most realistic domestic mystery/ thrillers I’ve ever encountered. For this blog tour, we’re looking at His Secret Daughter by Melissa Wiesner.
Here’s what I had to say about it on Goodreads:
What Would You Do? Wiesner does a tremendous job here of making a realistic, grounded mystery from a tragic yet all too real setup. Everything else flows fairly naturally here, and all of the character motivations are again all too real. (Particularly as someone who has experienced some version of some of the things that would be a spoiler to reveal, even these sections are, sadly, all too common.) And yes, the ending, while not something everyone will *want* to happen… is again, very, very realistic given the story to that point. Ultimately this really is one of the most realistic domestic mystery/ suspense books I’ve ever encountered – and I don’t know if that is an indictment on the genre or a praise of Wiesner. 😀 Truly a great read, and very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and sales links.
Continue reading “#BlogTour: His Secret Daughter by Melissa Wiesner”
Small Town Shenanigans. This is a great example of one of those small town tales where everyone has secrets, and, to quote Tony Stark in The Avengers: their “secrets have secrets”. So when a murder happens as our hero here is trying to rebuild her life and save her career… of *course* she has to investigate it herself. Because, you know, secrets. But along the way we really do see the inner workings of very small towns quite well, and Banks also manages to keep enough of the romance there to balance out just how dark and creepy this town can feel at times. A definite break from this author’s norm (she is working under a new pseudonym here), but a solid effort in this particular type of space and one that manages to up the creepy factor while adding in quite a bit of tension and apprehension not generally found in her other works. Very much recommended.
This review of Small Town Girl by Sarah Banks was originally written on January 4, 2023.
Some Heroes Have Half-Lives. Honestly, I didn’t even realize while reading this book that it was Book 1 of a new series – though with the way things end, I could certainly allow for that possibility. Here, Borgos manages to capture a lingering effect of the Cold War not often seen by those of us living on the East Coast – well away from all Cold War era nuclear test sites, including the Nevada deserts pictured here and the New Mexico deserts featured in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, which will be releasing around the same time as this book. We also get a dual timeline yet linked spy thriller (in the past)/ murder mystery (in the present), and in neither case is all as it seems. Borgos manages the pacing of each quite well, and the ultimate integration of the two quite seamlessly. Ultimately this is absolutely a world and storytelling style I’d love to come back to, so I’m glad there will be at least one more book forthcoming here. Very much recommended.
This review of The Bitter Past by Bruce Borgos was originally written on January 1, 2023.
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. 😀 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.