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Currently Browsing: mystery/suspense
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...
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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...
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Nov
30

Review: City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte

Review: City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte City of Dark Magic Author: Magnus Flyte   Release Date: Nov. 27, 2012 Publisher: Penguin Series: City of Dark Magic #1 ISBN: 978-0143122685 Genre: Paranormal Romantic Suspense Format(s): Paperback (464 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book:       Once a city of enormous wealth and culture, Prague was home to emperors, alchemists, astronomers, and, as it’s whispered, hell portals. When music student Sarah Weston lands a summer job at Prague Castle cataloging Beethoven’s manuscripts, she has no idea how dangerous her life is about to become. Prague is a threshold, Sarah is warned, and it is steeped in blood.       Soon after Sarah arrives, strange things begin to happen. She learns that her mentor, who was working at the castle, may not have committed suicide after all. Could his cryptic notes be warnings? As Sarah parses his clues about Beethoven’s “Immortal Beloved,” she manages to get arrested, to have tantric sex in a public fountain, and to discover a time-warping drug. She also catches the attention of a four-hundred-year-old dwarf, the handsome Prince Max, and a powerful U.S. senator with secrets she will do anything to hide. What VampBard’s talking about:       Feeding the musician with her favorite composer?  Yes, please!  Sure, the blurb talks about Beethoven, but I never dreamed that Magnus Flyte would create such a compelling plot surrounding the mystery of Beethoven’s Immortal Beloved!       I took notes on the characters in this novel. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t get my wires crossed.  Eventually, I did stop taking notes; I figured that I would be able to keep things straight because I had fallen completely in love with the characters created in City of Dark Magic.       I adore Sarah.  This tenacious heroine of our story had more guts than I initially gave her credit.  Beginning the story, she appeared to be an insecure music historian, trying to find her own way in the shadow of her mentor.  When she received her invitation to curate the Beethoven collection in Prague, I felt she began coming out of her shell.  Sarah, however, was no prude.  The girl likes sex, and she’s adventurous!       Nico.  A little person.  He’s positively ancient, too.  His teasing bites of snark kept me chuckling and on my toes.  No.  There wasn’t anything kinky about Nico.       Max, however, began the story shielded in mystery and...
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Aug
20

Review: The Last Victim by Karen Robards

Review: The Last Victim by Karen Robards The Last Victim Author: Karen Robards    Release Date: Aug. 7, 2012 Publisher: Ballantine ISBN: 978-0345535405 Genre: Paranormal Romance / Suspense Format(s): Hardcover (336 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher About the book: Dr. Charlotte Stone sees what others do not. A sought-after expert in criminal pathology, Charlie regularly sits face-to-face with madmen. Obsessed with learning what makes human monsters commit terrible crimes, Charlie desires little else from life—no doubt because when she was sixteen, she herself survived a serial killer’s bloodbath: A man butchered the family of Charlie’s best friend, Holly, then left the girl’s body on a seaside boardwalk one week later. Because of the information Charlie gave police, the Boardwalk Killer went underground. She kept to herself her eerie postmortem visions of Holly and her mother. And even years later, knowing her contact with ghosts might undermine her credibility as a psychological expert, Charlie tells no one about the visits she gets from the spirit world. Now all-too-handsome FBI agent Tony Bartoli is telling Charlie that a teenage girl is missing, her family slaughtered. Bartoli suspects that after fifteen years, the Boardwalk Killer—or a sick copycat with his M.O.—is back. Time is running short for an innocent, kidnapped girl, and Bartoli pleads for Charlie’s help. This is the one case Charlie shouldn’t go near. But she also knows that she may be the one person in the world who can stop this vicious killer. For Charlie—whose good looks disguise a world of hurt, vulnerability, and potent psychic gifts—a frantic hunt for a madman soon becomes a complex test of cunning, passions, and secrets. Aiding Dr. Stone on her quest to catch a madman is a ghostly presence with bad intentions: the fiery spirit of seductive bad boy Michael Garland who refuses to be ignored, though in his cat and mouse game they may both lose their hearts. Dr. Charlotte Stone sees what others do not. And she sees the Boardwalk Killer coming for her. What VampBard’s talking about: The Last Victim was definitely not a predictable read!  Chock full of suspense, murder, and some freaky ghost stuff, my interest level was high throughout the story.  You know you’re hooked when there’s a self-talk monologue going through your head about where the story is headed.  You know you’re immersed when that self-talk comes out of your mouth.  I would be deeply immersed in this title.   Dr. Charlotte Stone, a.k.a. Charlie or Doc, is our gutsy, ghost-seeing heroine. ...
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Jul
6

Quickie Review: Dead Calm by Shirley Wells

Quickie Review: Dead Calm by Shirley Wells Dead Calm Author: Shirley Wells  Release Date: June 4, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press Dylan Scott Mystery #4 ISBN: #978-1426893889 Genre: Mystery, Novella Format(s): e-book Book Source: Author About the book:       Detective Dylan Scott thinks cruising well above the Arctic Circle in November is nothing short of madness. He has zero interest in seeing the elusive aurora borealis, but agrees to the Norwegian holiday to keep his wife and mother happy. At least the biggest problem he’ll have to deal with is boredom. But that boredom quickly dissipates when the unpleasant elderly woman in the neighboring cabin is found dead.       Everyone thinks Hanna Larsen had a heart attack. Everyone except Dylan. Dylan is convinced there’s a killer aboard the Midnight Sun—a killer who may strike again… What I’m talking about:       The story opens with our reluctant hero, Dylan Scott, having a late night run in with the irritable woman staying in the cabin next to his aboard the cruise ship, Midnight Sun. Much to his (and everyone else) surprise, the miserable old woman, Hanna Larsen, is found dead the next morning in her cabin. Everyone assumes it was her heart problems and the stress of traveling that caused her death, but Dylan’s inner private eye sees it differently, especially after he knows he heard someone leaving her cabin at 3:00 AM. Soon Dylan has a fairly long list of suspects and is determined to prove there is more going on than appears.       Once again, Ms. Wells offers a wonderful whodunit with the most lovable Dylan Scott. Dead Calm has all of the ingredients that make each of the full-length Dylan Scott Mysteries engrossing and exciting. Even in this shortened format, the mystery is packed with viable suspects, multiple points-of-view, and a few surprising twists.       I have really grown to love Dylan over the course of reading three (of four) of his stories. He is truly a likable guy – he’s an average “joe,” complete with his own flaws and bad habits. He is annoyed by his mother, doesn’t want to be on this trip, and is obsessed with a dead woman, yet we know he loves his family and does what he can to make them happy. I enjoy reading his point-of-view and seeing how he works out the mystery. I find that I am always trying to solve the case before he does. And...
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Apr
26

Review: Silent Witness

Review: Silent Witness Silent Witness Author: Shirley Wells  Release Date: March 5, 2012 Publisher: Carina Press Dylan Scott Mystery #3 Genre: Mystery/Suspense Format(s): e-book, audio Book Source: Author About the book:       After his ex-wife bled to death in a bathtub covered in his fingerprints, the case against Aleksander Kaminski seemed open and shut. Though sentenced to life in prison, he swears he’s innocent, a claim supported by his current wife.       Private investigator Dylan Scott finds himself drawn back to dreary Lancashire in a search for justice. The evidence against Kaminski is damning, but having been unjustly jailed himself, Dylan is compelled to peruse the case; if there’s even a small chance the man is innocent, he has to help. The other obvious suspect – the victim’s second husband – has a watertight alibi. But Dylan has a strong hunch that as usual, there’s more going on than meets the eye in Dawson’s Clough.       The deeper Dylan digs, the more secrets he unearths. The question remains: If Kaminski didn’t murder his childhood sweetheart, who did? What I’m talking about:       Dylan Scott, ex-police officer and current private investigator, is looking into the murder of Carly Walsingham. Currently, her ex-husband, Alek Kaminski is serving time for her death, but he claims innocence. Alek’s parents (along with current wife, Sue) have hired Dylan to discover the truth and get Alek out of jail. Among the list of suspects: Carly’s second husband: Dr. Neil Walsingham, Jamie Tinsley: a vet at Sue’s animal shelter, Neil’s current mistress: Megan Cole and Neil’s former mistress: Sonia Trueman. Although all evidence points to Alek’s guilt, Dylan Scott is compelled to take the case.       This is my second Dylan Scott Mystery and once again, I am captivated! Ms. Wells has a knack for story-telling that keeps me on my toes and fully engaged until the very end! One of the best things about this story (and series) is that it is told from multiple points of view. This not only gives the reader insight into Dylan’s sleuthing, but paints a different portrait of the victim and events depending on who’s doing the thinking. I never really knew who was guilty until the very end. It is a very effective and suspenseful way to present the story.       Second, I adore Dylan Scott. He is a reluctant “hero,” who is human and flawed, but a good...
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Jul
30

Review: Vision Impossible

Review: Vision Impossible Vision Impossible Author: Victoria Laurie  Release Date: July 5, 2011 Publisher: NAL Psychic Eye Mystery #9 ISBN: #978-0451234063 Genre: Paranormal Suspense Format(s): Hardcover (358 pgs), e-book Book Source: Publisher  About the book: Abby Cooper’s next mission may truly be impossible…  Abby Cooper, the FBI’s newest Civilian Profiler, is adding Spy to her resume. The military’s digital photography software that captures one’s aura- just like Abby can-sits in a drone aircraft that’s been stolen. It’s a major breach in security as every country’s leader can be identified by their aura…  Abby springs into action to stop the criminals before they set their diabolical plan into motion, while making herself a prime target.  What G & U are talking about: Vision Impossible is the ninth book in the Psychic Eye Mysteries.  Gikany and Una did not read the previous books (nor do we anticipate picking them up) so we have jumped into this one blind.  However, that being said as we did our research for this book to put together our review, we noticed that (besides fans either loving or hating this novel) this book was a departure from the previous books in the series.  Abby’s usual friends and crew were not featured, except for her fiancé Dutch.  Therefore if you want to pick up this series with this book, it might be a good starting point.  We do not feel we had missed out on anything by starting here (unless you want to know how Abby and Dutch got together). We had a very difficult time thinking of how to review and rate this book.  Gikany has come up with a great illustration.  This book is like being on a rollercoaster…the first part is torturously slow, the middle is interesting and the last part is a thrill.  That being said, we must admit to skimming parts of the first third of Vision Impossible (okay, Una skimmed, Gikany was good and didn’t… gold star for her) where the “spy training” occurs.  The plot picks up once they are put in the field, doing the spy work and the drama begins to unfold.  Then at the end where the action explodes, it is fantastic… the end could be taken from a James Bond movie.   One overwhelmingly difficult element that Una faced is her dislike of our main character, Abby the psychic.  We must note: Gikany didn’t find her as annoying as Una did.  Maybe it was reading this book so soon...
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Oct
12

Review: Presumed Dead

Review: Presumed Dead Presumed Dead Author:Shirley Wells Release Date: July 26, 2010 Publisher: Carina Press Dylan Scott Mysteries Book #1 ISBN: #978-1426890444 Genre: Mystery/Suspense Format(s): e-book I received a e-copy of this book from the author for the purposes of an honest review. From the author’s website:       Dylan Scott has problems. Dismissed in disgrace from the police force for assaulting a suspect, he has no job, his wife has thrown him out and—worse luck—his mother has moved in. So when Holly Champion begs him to investigate the disappearance of her mother thirteen years ago, he can’t say no, even though it means taking up residence in the dreary Lancashire town of Dawson’s Clough for the duration.       Although the local police still believe Anita Champion took off for a better life, Dylan’s inquiries turn up plenty of potential suspects: the drug-dealing, muscle-bound bouncer at the club where Anita was last seen; the missing woman’s four girlfriends, out for revenge; the local landowner with rumored mob connections—the list goes on. But no one is telling Dylan all they know—and he soon finds that one sleepy Northern town can keep a lot of secrets. What I’m talking about:       Heads up and note: THIS IS NOT A ROMANCE. THIS IS NOT A PARANORMAL-THEMED BOOK! *shock* I know… I can expand my horizons!       Okay, so now that I have that out of the way, I want to tell you about this great mystery I just read… First of all, we have our hero, Dylan Scott. The poor man has had a bit of a tough run and we catch him trying to pull his life back to some normalcy. After being kicked off the police force and spending time in jail, his self-esteem and pride have taken a huge hit. His wife is tired of his attitude and kicks him out. Dylan’s chance to turn himself around falls to Holly Champion.  He is contacted by Holly to find her missing mother and she persuades him by insisting he is the only one for the job. In order to repair some of the problems in his life, Dylan decides to take on the case, even though he is convinced that nothing good will come of it.       I like Dylan. He’s a good man. His investigative technics are not unusual, but he is so personable that he gets the information he needs from complete...
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