logo
Currently Browsing: mystery/suspense
Aug
15

Review: The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield

Review: The Inheritance by Olivia Mayfield The Inheritance Author: Olivia Mayfield Reviewer: Una Rating: B- What I’m Talking About: Originally released as a series of six novellas, The Inheritance has now been released as a full novel.  I did not read the story in the novella format and this review is for the full novel only.  The premise piqued my interest, but the suspense/mystery was overwhelmed by the romance in some ways. I was intrigued by this detective suspense story to only find out that it is set within a romance.  The story of Andrew and Maggie is compelling.  Two long lost high school sweethearts who are reconnected by an odd will that pits them against each other to win the large inheritance.  The nature of Andrew and Maggie’s previous breakup is just as mysterious for Maggie as the new found attraction she has for Andrew.  And the romance is passionate and steamy. The entire story is told from Maggie’s point of view, giving us her fears, her desires, and her thoughts as she puzzles through the mystery of her sister’s disappearance and her romantic tangles.  At times though, I felt that the language and Maggie’s musing were a little overly flowery in compared to the grittiness of the mystery.  The nature of her sister’s disappearance and the clues found along the way paint a disturbing and tragic picture. Coupled with the violent ways someone is using to keep Maggie from uncovering the truth, her romantic interludes were a little odd. Her rambled musings were at times disruptive to the overall flow of the detective drama and I found myself occasionally skimming it to get on to the drama. Although it was fairly easy to see who the main culprit(s) are in the disappearance of Cassandra (Maggie’s sister), the actual events leading up to her demise were not as easy to discern. It was disturbing to know what befell Cassandra and the people involved.  However, the absolute horror of the revealing is tempered by the conclusion of Maggie and Andrew’s romance. The book ends with a happy ending, for the most part, for Maggie and Andrew.  I liked how the author ended on something hopeful rather than the despair that is left in the wake of the mystery’s reveal.  The romance does play a nice part in trying to balance out the horrific nature of the mystery, even though it does seem to bias the story’s balance. The Inheritance is a good quick read to...
Read More
Jul
10

Review: Dead End by Shirley Wells

Review: Dead End by Shirley Wells Dead End Author: Shirley Wells Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Dead End picks up right after the conclusion of the previous book, Deadly Shadows, when we found out that Dylan is receiving death threats and his wife, Bev, has cancer. Dylan, together with his former co-worker, Detective Sergeant Pike (Pikey) and former boss, Frank, try to figure out who is at the other end of the mysterious, menacing phone calls. The group manages to come up with two likely suspects, and Dylan spends every waking moment, when he’s not worrying about Bev, using his investigative skills to track the suspects and stop the threats. Dead End is another wonderful addition to Ms. Wells’ gripping Dylan Scott series. Like the previous books in the series, Dead End weaves an engrossing mystery, which keeps readers guessing whodunit until the very end. However, unlike prior stories, instead of Dylan being hired by someone unknown to track down a murderer, this mystery is personal for Dylan. This gives Dead End a much different – more urgent – feel when compared to the other books. In addition to being a more personal story, Dead End is also much darker than any of the preceding books. Not only is there more than one murder, there is also a rape scene. Although the scenes are not graphically detailed, they are gruesome. This, together with the personal nature of the story, makes Dead End an emotionally gripping tale with some dire moments. As I have said over and over in my reviews of the series, one of the best things about the Dylan Scott mysteries is the secondary storylines and alternate character perspectives. Ms. Wells does a wonderful job chronicling Dylan’s personal life without letting it overwhelm the mystery. This time around, it’s Bev who shines. I’m not going to lie… there are some tough moments, both honest and real. Her frank discussions with Dylan over her fears about the future are raw and pack a punch. All in all, Dead End is wonderful, engrossing mystery coupled with an emotionally personal tale. Although it can be read as a stand alone story, knowing Dylan’s history as shared throughout the previous books makes the personal nature of the story more meaningful. By the end of the book, I was a bit drained, yet I cannot wait to read the next one! My Rating:  A- Enjoyed A Lot About the Book: Somebody is making threatening...
Read More
Apr
29

Review: Stolen Remains by Christine Trent

Review: Stolen Remains by Christine Trent Stolen Remains Author: Christine Trent Reviewer: Una Rating: A- What I’m Talking About: Stolen Remains is the second novel in the Lady of Ashes Mysteries.  I was wonderfully surprised to find this sequel is as engrossing and interesting as the first novel, Lady of Ashes.  Although I didn’t think I was in the mood for a historical mystery when I picked it up, I found myself completely engrossed and unable to put it down. Violet is a wonderfully characterized heroine.  Clearly a woman who loves what she does, Violet sticks out like sore thumb in Victorian society.  Through the interactions between her and various characters, we learn about the odd role in society that undertakers have.  They are tradesman and looked down upon in some ways because of what they do, yet they make a fairly comfortable living, placing them higher in society monetarily.  It is because of their work that the deceased are given their final respects so they can rest and the family can grieve. I sympathize with Violet’s life and the conviction she has in ensuring a loved one is fully respected and put to rest.  After the events in Lady of Ashes, I am happy with her situation in Stolen Remains.  I enjoyed her inner monologue when dealing with clients that are overcome with emotion.  She is a lovely blend of gentleness and steel with a large dash of intelligence.  For as much as she does not think of herself as a skilled detective, she is amazingly talented at collecting clues. The mystery in Stolen Remains was quite different from what we experienced in Lady of Ashes.  This novel had a different feel, but I enjoyed the difference.  We are privy to both the Prince’s and Queen Victoria’s point-of-views (POVs), but the majority of the book is told from Violet’s perspective.  There are a few other POVs from a few minor characters, but these were mostly in the beginning and helped to set up the novel.  Despite all of the information we were given in the beginning, the revelation of the murderer and their motives completely surprised me.  For as much as Violet feels as if she is bumbling along, as I thought back over the novel, the clues were there, if you looked carefully.  Even as she came to the conclusion, I was still surprised and needed the unveiling and confession from the guilty person. One of the best aspects of Stolen Remains is...
Read More
Apr
18

Review: The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts

Review: The Medea Complex by Rachel Florence Roberts The Medea Complex Author: Rachel Florence Roberts Reviewer: Una Rating: C What I’m Talking About: The Medea Complex was an interesting premise and nothing like what I expected.  Although I liked the idea of the novel and where the author was going, the execution of it fell flat. The Medea Complex is a psychological thriller based on a true story.  I admit the mystery of whether or not Anne was insane was gripping.  I saw this novel as more of a mystery than a psychological thriller with the underlying mystery the truth of Anne’s illness and its cause.   As the story unfolded I found myself trying to figure out what was going on, what was true and what was not.  However, nothing proceeded as expected.  Though this could be seen as a positive, there are a couple of elements that grated.  From the synopsis I expected the story to focus just on Anne’s personal struggle, but that is not the case.  Although she is the major character, the conflict involves more than Anne’s personal turmoil.  The historical politics at work and political schemes were the central core of the story.  This is something we do not discover until later in the novel.  I found this intrigue to be fascinating and gripping.  The different ploys in place and the lengths to which people would go, regardless the cost, were staggering and heart-wrenching. There are multiple points of view in The Medea Complex.  All of them slowly combined to give a glimpse of what is really going on.  Fittingly, all is not revealed until the end, but the deliberate moments where information is withheld are insulting and annoying.  At one point, Anne is hypnotized and questioned regarding the incident that caused her to be incarcerated in the asylum.  It was blatantly obvious at the conclusion of the interview (of which we only saw the barest beginning) that something major was revealed.  However, we are not privy to that information until the very end.  I found this very frustrating and insulting to know a major plot point is discovered but purposely hidden from us. Another item that is difficult to discuss without spoiling the novel stems from the first person narrative.  We have multiple points of view but they are all first person narrative.  This means that if a character is performing a ruse, it should be evident in the narrative.  Since we are privy to their thoughts and feelings as...
Read More
Mar
13

Review: The Innocent by Shiloh Walker

Review: The Innocent by Shiloh Walker The Innocent Author: Shiloh Walker Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: B What I’m Talking About: Jay Roberts is a security specialist with ties to Agent Taylor Jones and his group of FBI psychics. Jay has lived a lonely life, never able to touch anyone else because she is psychometric and picks up history and thoughts via touch. Yet she found something special with Lincoln Dawson when they met online. However, about two months ago, Lincoln suddenly and mysteriously cut all ties with Jay. Lincoln Dawson is a former county sheriff living in Hell, Georgia. His daughter, DeeDee, has been missing for two months, and no one in the god-forsaken place seems to care about DeeDee’s disappearance or any of the other horrible problems which keep happening. With her gut-instincts telling Jay something more was going on, she decides it is time to find out why Linc left her. However, once she arrives in Hell, she realizes something sinister is hanging over the town and its citizens. Sensing something was going to happen, Jay’s boss Oz, contacts Taige Morgan, a famous psychic that works with Agent Taylor’s group, and sends her to help Jay uncover the truth. The Innocent is a gripping new suspense novella that takes place in Ms. Walker’s FBI Psychic series. However, one does not need to have read any of the other books to enjoy The Innocent; it is completely stand alone. Although it is a shortened-length story, it is packed with riveting action and suspense. As Jay, Taige and Linc put the puzzle pieces together, I was glued to the pages, trying to figure out what was happening before the characters could uncover the truth. The story is filled with fabulous, complex characters which add so much to the story. The bad guys are slimy and evil, just the way I like them, and even better, the heroes are jaded and rough. For example, Lincoln isn’t so innocent. He’s a real ass to anyone who turned a blind eye to his daughter’s disappearance. Using his family’s fortune, he has caused true hardship for many in the town. He’s not just a man in pain and turmoil; he is bent on bring down those around him, sinking to deep lows at times to do so. The book does have a minor love-interest story, but I feel it plays second fiddle to the mystery and suspense. Jay and Linc have a chance to explore the feelings that developed...
Read More
Feb
13

Review: Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor

Review: Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor Darkwalker Author: E. L. Tettensor  Reviewer: Gikany and Una Rating: A What We’re Talking About: Darkwalker is the debut novel in the Nicholas Lenoir series.  It seems the series will chronicle Nicholas Lenoir, a detective in a dark, historical fantasy world.  We were wary at first, but we found ourselves rooting for this anti-hero and really loved this first offering that left us hungry for more! Gikany and Una have a habit of diving into a book without much research (unless you count reading the book’s back blurb).  As we started Darkwalker, it started to dawn on us that not only is it historical, it is taking place in a fictional world.  Take Sherlock Holmes’s London, change the name and place it somewhere else, with another cultural group nearby that transects it, and take the dark, dreary factor way up.  This is where our story takes place…and it is mesmerizing.  We really enjoyed the landscapes that were created in our mind’s eye – the descriptions are rich and they greatly enhance the atmosphere of the novel.  The conflict and prejudice that exists between the “whites” and the Adali is compelling, reminiscent of those conflicts between Anglos and Africans as well as Anglos and Gypsies in our histories.  We found the tension between these two groups authentic, enriching the world and storytelling without any sign of preaching.  It truly added another element to the world-building, giving it a foundation as it alluded to our own historical pasts. However the most compelling element in Darkwalker is most assuredly Nicholas Lenoir.  This is the author’s take on the five things you need to know about Lenoir (taken from a guest post linked on her website): He’s the smartest person in the room. In his mind, at least. He doesn’t believe in redemption—least of all for him. Wherever you come from, Lenoir’s hometown is better. You’re just going to have to trust him on this. Words are weapons, but silence is power. We all have our demons, but his are darker. And in the room. Right now. We have read other novels where the main character is not well liked by others, but to the reader is captivating and enchanting.  That is not Lenoir.  As we started Darkwalker, we disliked him (we have some colorful pejoratives we could use, but we’re sure you get the gist).  In fact, we were so angry with him, we almost stopped reading.  But, this shows how well the...
Read More
Dec
24

Review: City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte

Review: City of Lost Dreams by Magnus Flyte City of Lost Dreams Author: Magnus Flyte  Reviewer: VampBard Rating: A What I’m Talking About: I was excited to read City of Lost Dreams, sequel to City of Dark Magic, by Magnus Flyte. What I wasn’t counting on, however, was the time it would take me to savor this beautifully written novel that reaches my classical artistic and musical sides that are so frequently tucked into a tiny drawer, waiting to be let out to play. However, this title is so skillfully written, I fear that others will become as entranced with the music and art mentioned as I have been. Which means that the websites I usually visit to feed the art monster are going to load a bit slower. The story opens with a great summary of the previous title. I’m not  counting the Prologue – I’ve not figured out how that piece fits in quite yet. I like the way Flyte recaps Pollina and her delicate medical condition and her history with Sarah. How Nico is so old and little and about his gregarious attitude and demeanor (as well as his alcoholic tendencies). We also see Max again. And that familiar spark between Sarah and Max sparks. Helga? Helene…Harriet. Yes, It’s Harriet. “He was about a half step away from seeing Rudolph II on a piece of toast.” Sarah was talking about Max here. I laughed-out-loud remembering the GLEE episode where Finn has a grilled cheese sandwich that he believes has the face of Jesus on it. I thought this sentence totally captured the essence of Max. He’s a dreamer that is looking for his Holy Grail – one day, he’ll find it. I was a little sad that we didn’t see more of Max in this title. I surely hope that there’s a third book that will fill us in on what’s been going on with him! What I like most about Pollina – Pols – is how direct and honest she is. Her observations about a situation seem to be spot-on, and while she can’t see – due to her blindness – she seems to be quite intuitive. And she’s more self-aware than others realize. I cried at how beautiful her soul is. “…it’s not hard to make history come alive in Prague. The hard part is making history stay dead.” Sarah says this to Harriet, Max’s new girlfriend when she talks about writing a historical fiction novel about Elizabeth Weston, a contemporary poet...
Read More
Oct
25

Review: Deadly Shadows by Shirley Wells

Review: Deadly Shadows by Shirley Wells Deadly Shadows Author: Shirley Wells Reviewer: Jen Twimom Rating: A-, 4 Stars What I’m Talking About: As I was preparing to write my review for Deadly Shadows, I went back and looked over the previous reviews I’ve written for the Dylan Scott series, and two things came to mind: consistently entertaining and engrossing, and always original. Each book in Ms. Wells’s highly addictive series brings an exciting new tale that is uniquely its own story while carrying on the same characters from book to book. Deadly Shadows is no different in this regard. I found myself unable to put down my Kindle once I started reading. The book opens with a gruesome murder committed by an unknown assailant. The scene then suddenly shifts to a bar where we meet Joe Child. Joe is an ex-con turned bible-thumper, and he is the reason our hero, PI Dylan Scott was removed from the police force years ago (you can find that back story in some of my other reviews). Joe is attempting to convince David Young (they used to do jobs together) to come into his flock. While they are discussing the pros and cons of Joe’s new-found faith, Davey is hauled off by Dawson’s Clough’s finest where we discover that (*VERY MINOR SPOILER HERE*) Davey is none other than Dylan Scott, working undercover for the Dawson’s Clough police force. Dylan is deep undercover, reprising his role as a two-bit crook from years ago in order to discover what has happened to two young girls missing from town. While neither girl knew the other, they had both spent time at Joe’s commune. Dylan is convinced Joe either has something to do with the disappearances or has knowledge of what happened, and Dylan wants to bring him down. However, not everyone sees things the way Dylan does. Many appreciate the work Joe is doing to serve the town’s homeless. I absolutely love how Ms. Wells sets up her mysteries. The story is told from multiple points-of-view, which are masterfully written so you cannot be certain if a suspect is innocent or guilty. Deadly Shadows spreads out like fan from the first chapter: each character and scenario is its own mini-plot. Yet the complexity is never overwhelming or extraneous. I am driven to look for clues in every scene and interaction. It’s exhilarating, exciting, and nail-biting! One aspect of the series that I adore is the human dynamics and emotional realism of each...
Read More
Apr
20

Review: Children of the Underground by Trevor Shane

Review: Children of the Underground by Trevor Shane Children of the Underground Author: Trevor Shane  Release Date: April 2, 2013 Publisher: NAL Trade Children of Paranoia #2 ISBN: #978-0451239297 Genre: Suspense Format(s): Paperback (400 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Even if you have choices, sometimes you have only one worth taking. The war had been raging for as long as anyone could remember. The secret, endless war between two opposing sides—one good, one evil. Neither side knows which is which; it is kill or be killed in an invisible conflict where assassination is the weapon of choice.  When she was just seventeen, Maria was pulled into this secret war and they killed her lover and stole her child. Now they are telling her to go home. To ignore what she knows is going on in the shadows all around her. They told Maria to forget all she’d lost. The trouble is, some things simply can’t be forgotten. Now, with a loose-cannon killer at her side, Maria is going to do whatever it takes to get back what belongs to her. And that means starting a war of her own… What B is talking about: When we first met Maria in Children of Paranoia, she was a seventeen year old girl who’d fallen in love with a dangerous man, gotten pregnant, and realized, too late, that the world wasn’t what she thought it was. Instead of the rules she was used to (flirting with an attractive man, attending university, growing up), she discovered that a secret war, perpetuated by fear and vengeance, was being waged all around her, and had been for so many generations that no one could say for certain why the killing began in the first place. This war was dictated by an entirely different set of rules. Rules that quickly and brutally destroyed everything that she loved. No longer an innocent in “the War,” she’s now determined to take back what was stolen from her so long ago, no matter the cost.  Although this isn’t a genre I typically choose for myself, I have very much enjoyed the novels in the Children of Paranoia series so far. Children of the Underground was even more clever and intricate than its predecessor, the characters’ stories unfolding via dual storylines playing out simultaneously, offering the reader a view of the future unfolding alongside the present, and tying both together within each chapter. It isn’t nearly as confusing as it sounds. By telling Maria’s story...
Read More
Dec
6

Review: Dying Art by Shirley Wells

Review: Dying Art by Shirley Wells Dying Art Author: Shirley Wells  Release Date: Nov. 12, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press Dylan Scott Mystery #5 Genre: Mystery Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Dylan Scott vowed never to return to the dreary town of Dawson’s Clough. But one visit from a beautiful ex-lover and he’s back in Lancashire, investigating a possible murder. The police think Prue Murphy died during a burglary gone wrong, but her sister isn’t so sure—and neither is Dylan. After all, the killer overlooked the only valuable thing in Prue’s flat.       So who could have wanted the quirky young woman dead, and why? Dylan’s search for answers takes him to France, where he discovers Prue’s family didn’t know her as well as they thought they did. And the more he digs, the more secrets he unearths—secrets someone would kill to keep buried… What I’m talking about:       Ex-police office Dylan Scott is an amazing detective with a proven track record. Unfortunately, there isn’t a high demand for solving mysterious deaths. That is until Dylan’s old flame, Madeleine “Maddie” Murphy comes tumbling into his office looking for help with the investigation into her sister Prue’s murder.       Back in Dawson’s Clough, Dylan sifts through the clues, meeting the main players, including Prue’s shady landlord, the owner of a not-very-successful wine bar, and the widow of a renowned artist, who may or may not have been friends with Prue. And as always, Dylan must juggle solving the crime with his family life, and this time, an ex-lover who wants to win Dylan back into her bed.       Oh, I LOVE the Dylan Scott Mysteries! There is just something about the almost anti-hero that has me cheering for him all the way. Dylan is a good man, and we’ve seen this time and time again, over the course of five stories. His life is far from perfect, but he makes the most of it. He loves his wife and kids and works hard.       I’ve said this before, but one of my favorite things about the Dylan Scott books is that we view the crime scene and plot development from multiple points of view. One would think that this would “give away” the murderer, but it actually has the opposite effect. The reader is left wondering “whodunit,” because everyone either seems to be hiding something, or totally innocent. The multiple POVs...
Read More
Page 3 of 41234
logo
Powered by WordPress | Designed by Elegant Themes