Tag Archives: mystery

If She Dies by Erik Therme – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an ebook I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book If She Dies by Erik Therme to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

If She Dies by Eric Therme

Here is the book blurb.

How far would you go to right a wrong?

Nine months ago, Tess’s five-year-old daughter was killed in a car accident. The driver, Brady Becker, was sentenced to two years in prison. It didn’t make Tess’s pain go away.

Brady also has a daughter: A twelve-year-old named Eve who walks to Chandler Middle School every day. Tess knows this because she’s been watching Eve for the last three weeks. It isn’t fair that Brady’s daughter gets to live, while Tess’s daughter does not.

When Eve goes missing, all eyes turn to Tess, who doesn’t have an alibi. But Tess isn’t guilty.

Or so she believes.

The story starts creepily with Tess stalking a 12 year old girl Eve, persuading the reader to think the worst of her. Eve is the step-daughter of the driver responsible for killing Lily, Tess and Josh’s five year old daughter in a car accident, which Tess cannot come to terms with.

Meanwhile who is sending Tess anonymous mail? Who has desecrated Lily’s grave? Who is spying on her? And who is snooping around outside their house? Why is she lying to Josh? Has he moved on? Is he hiding something from her? Is Tess getting paranoid about everything?

This book is very much a slow burner as we gradually get introduced to other characters integral to the story. And then Eve disappears…….

If She Dies is available on Amazon in hardback, paperback, audiobook and kindle formats. A compelling read indeed..

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Malamander by Thomas Taylor – book review

My latest personal choice of read, rather than a requested book review is Malamander by Thomas Taylor. To find out more about the author you may visit his website. I discovered there that he illustrated the original cover for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Here is the book blurb.

Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep…

Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy – especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents twelve years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander. Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger…

This is the first book in the Eerie-on-Sea series.

When you open the book, there is a map of Eerie-on-Sea, a seaside town, which I kept referring back to as I read the story. I do love a map to illustrate a tale.

The story draws you in with fabulous descriptive language right from the start as we get introduced to young Herbie, who is the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel. His usual remit is lost luggage but the mysterious girl Violet Parma comes especially to see him, declaring she is lost and wants to be found, although obviously not by the scary Boathook Man from whom she hides.

Mystery, adventure detective story, myth, legend, monster, fantasy – this book has it all. The characters and settings are all portrayed wonderfully.

Malamander is a great book, targeted at readers from about age 9-12. A captivating read. I’m certainly looking forward to finding out what happens in Gargantis, book 2 at Eerie-on-Sea. And the author is currently writing the third title Shadowghast, which will be published later this year.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Prove It: Murder in the Mix by Hannah R Kurz – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Prove It: Murder in the Mix by Hannah R Kurz to review. You may find out more about the author on her website.

Prove It Murder in the Mix by Hannah R Kurz

Here is the book blurb.

When a tragic mixer mishap results in the closing of a beloved bakery, new mom and upstairs neighbor Stephanie Wu is sure of two things: One, she misses their cappuccinos. And two, it was no accident. But time is running out for the sleep-deprived sleuth. Can she solve the murder and figure out pumping before her maternity leave is up? With a baby at her breast and a killer at her back, life and living above The Likable Daisy will never be the same again.

The story is set in and above a French-Lebanese bakery, The Likable Daisy in New York. New mum Steph lives in one of the three apartments above the bakery with her husband Henry and two-week old baby Madeline.

She loves the baking smells and sweet treats. In fact she and Henry seem to be always eating, starting with a cooked breakfast, numerous daily treats, lunch and a big dinner. Steph is breast-feeding but what is Henry’s excuse?

So when Henry goes back to work after his paternity leave is up, naturally Steph’s first solo trip out with Madeline is downstairs to the bakery for a pastry and a cappuccino, catching up with staff and regulars.

But next day the bakery is closed. Owner Sameed had been found strangled by his own tie, wound in the mixer. The police have it down as an accident, but Steph is not convinced. It doesn’t add up and she believes he was murdered.

So we have a new mum amateur sleuth focussing on suspects and clues. I think this is the first time I’ve come across a new num in that role, but it worked perfectly.

I loved this cosy foodie murder mystery. And what a great corny title.

Prove It: Murder in the Mix is available on Amazon, in paperback and kindle formats. A great foodie cosy mystery. This is Hannah’s debut novel and she is currently writing the second Likable Daisy mystery, which I’m really looking forward to.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning to review, which is a very different genre to his previous book The Colonel and the Bee which I read a couple of years ago.

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning

Here is the book blurb.

Seeking to rediscover herself after a divorce, a detective-minded woman embarks on solving the small mysteries of a Midwest neighborhood, only to learn the secrets hidden there are more horrifying than she could have ever imagined.

Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place for her to sort through her pain and move on with her life.

But Francine quickly discovers the “idyllic” neighborhood is hiding a number of disturbing mysteries. Behind every door and window there’s marital strife, simmering grudges, and a secret so terrible, someone will kill to keep it quiet.

Francine rewrites her prescription from relaxation to investigation. If she can remember how to trust herself, she might discover what’s hidden in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again, assuming she stays alive long enough to be in it…

This story is set in 1989 when Francine house-sits for her sister Ellie, whilst trying to get her life back on track after a messy divorce. Before Ellie and husband Pete leave for their own holiday, they throw a party introducing Francine to all their neighbours.

Francine bonds with Ellie’s best friend Laura-Jean and elderly Roland Gerber at the party, but why does Magdalena throw a cocktail in Francine’s face? Following in the footsteps of her heroine Nancy Drew, this is the first mystery that Francine tries to investigate. She gets Laura-Jean to give her a gossipy tour of the neighbourhood, which helps to build a picture of all the characters. The neighbourhood feels very much in period with the time it is set.

But one thing leads to another, as Francine makes more discoveries. There are certainly some very unexpected twists that I didn’t see coming.

Initially I wasn’t sure what to make of this story, but it certainly grew on me as the storyline developed.

Hawthorn Woods is available on Amazon, in paperback or Kindle format. A psychological suspense filled mystery.


About the author

Patrick Canning is the author of three novels, including Cryptofauna (2018), The Colonel and the Bee (2018), and his latest, Hawthorn Woods (2020). He has also published several short stories. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing beach volleyball, following space exploration, and losing at bar trivia. Patrick lives in Los Angeles with his dog Hank, who some consider to be the greatest dog of all time.

To find out more about the author you may visit his website.


Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Jimmy Coates: Killer by Joe Craig – book review

My latest personal choice of read, rather than a requested book review is Jimmy Coates: Killer by Joe Craig. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Jimmy Coates Killer by Joe Craig

Here is the book blurb.

An eleven-year-old boy discovers he has strange powers, and a future that holds mystery, adventure – and death!

Bending his knees, Jimmy let go of the windowsill and slowly tipped backwards. Surely this is impossible, he thought, even as he could feel himself doing it. He pushed out with his legs and the thrust sent him flying backwards into the air… Then his fingers locked on to the cold wire of the fence, poised in a perfect handstand on the top.

Who are the mysterious men chasing Jimmy across the city?
Why are they after him?
What are Jimmy’s parents keeping from him and who can he trust?
And how come he can suddenly do all this really cool stuff…?

This is the first book in the Jimmy Coates series and was published back in 2005.

The story begins with Jimmy discovering he can jump through the upstairs closed window and fall onto the concrete feeling no pain, when trying to evade the strangers who have mysteriously arrived at his home to take him away from his family. He hides under the car, as they lead his parents away but his older sister Georgie manages to run off.

He eventually makes his way to the police station, but they seem just as suspicious as the others, so he legs it out of there.

Why is everyone after him?
Who can he trust?
How has he suddenly got these mysterious super powers?
Where have his parents been taken?
Where is Georgie?

Gradually things become clearer to Jimmy but it doesn’t make his decisions any easier. Plenty of twists and turns to come in this story set in the Neo-Democratic State of Great Britain.

Jimmy Coates: Killer is an excellent book, targeted at readers from about age 10-14. A great read that had me immediately adding books 2-7 to my TBR list.

Spoiler Alert. The only disappointing thing is when you reach the back of the book and it mentions the website www.jimmycoates.co.uk with lots of fun activities, secret files, etc, but when I visited, all I found was a Google map to explore Jimmy’s World. However the map features locations from all books in the series.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

The Girl Behind the Wall by Bruce Wetterau – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Girl Behind the Wall by Bruce Wetterau to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

The Girl Behind the Wall by Bruce Wetterau

Here is the book blurb.

Did Edgar Allan Poe know more about murder than he revealed in his bizarre stories of murder and mayhem? Was he in fact guilty of killing a girlfriend in a fit of rage many years before he became famous? Bruce Wetterau’s taut thriller weaves a murder mystery worthy of Poe himself as it follows Poe through actual events in the last months of his life. The year 1849 saw the real-life Poe dealing with his alcoholism, failing health, poverty, and painful memories of his recently deceased child-bride wife. His life had become a psychological pressure cooker, with severe anxiety attacks and bouts of strange hallucinations. The Girl Behind the Wall opens in early 1849. Poe is being tormented by frightening visions about murdering Annabel Lee while he was a student at the University of Virginia. Afraid of the hangman’s noose, Poe knows he can never tell anyone about the repressed memories haunting him. But a newspaper reporter named Sam Reynolds has overheard him talking erratically about Annabel while in a drunken stupor. That a man as famous as Poe could be a murderer would be the scoop of a lifetime and Reynolds will do anything to get it. Flash forward nearly two hundred years to the present. The book’s hero, Clay Cantrell, accidentally uncovers damning evidence–Annabel’s skeleton and a locket from Poe–behind an old brick wall at the university. While the mystery of Annabel’s murder and Poe’s strange visions unfolds in flashbacks, Cantrell and friends launch a search of their own for the truth about Annabel’s death. But another murder mystery much closer to home overtakes them when a cold-blooded serial killer named the Raven claims his first victim, a UVA coed. Obsessed with Poe, the Raven stages his murders with clever ties to Poe’s works. Clay tries to stop the murders and soon winds up in the Raven’s cross hairs. Though this isn’t the first vicious killer Clay–an ex-Army Ranger–has fought, he doesn’t know the Raven has a diabolical plan to execute him. Will Poe finally reveal the truth about Annabel, or will he take the secret to his grave? Can Clay escape the Raven’s plot, find what drives the Raven’s murderous obsession with Poe, and at last answer the question, who killed Annabel Lee?

That is a long blurb and I initially wondered if not having read any of Poe’s works would impact on my appreciation of the story. I’m not sure that I have even seen any films based on them either. But not so, there is plenty of information regarding Poe including references to his works throughout the tale. The author has certainly put a lot of research into his story.

This is the third title in the Clay Cantrell series but works fine as a stand-alone read. I haven’t read either of the two previous titles.

The story starts in 1849 with New York reporter Samuel Reynolds discovering Poe drunk amongst the garbage in an alley, muttering about Annabel. We then skip to the present day where Clay Cantrell and friend Mac Harper discover a 190 year old skeleton walled up at the University of Virginia. A locket on the skeleton is inscribed with “My beloved Annabel. Your devoted Eddy. Oct 1826”.

Putting two and two together, Clay and his friends start researching into Poe’s history, to try to determine whether it was Poe who killed Annabel.

Meanwhile, modern day serial killer, the Raven strikes and all his murders are staged with links to Poe’s works. For instance , The Raven is a famous poem by Poe.

The story continues to switch back and forth between the present day and 1849.

The Girl Behind the Wall is available on Amazon in both kindle format and paperback. A good mystery, with some great twists.

The book also contains a timeline of key events in Poe’s Life in 1849 to show where fact has cleverly been woven into the fiction.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper – book review

My latest personal choice of read, rather than a requested book review is Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Over Sea Under Stone by Susan Cooper

Here is the book blurb.

On holiday in Cornwall, Simon, Jane and Barney Drew discover an ancient map in the attic of the Grey House, where they are staying with their mysterious Great-Uncle Merry. They know immediately that it is special. But it is much more than just a map. It is the start of a quest to find a grail, a source of great power that could contain – or resurrect – the powerful, age-old forces of evil in the world. And the Drews are not the only ones searching for it.

This is the first book in the award-winning Dark Is Rising Sequence. It is a classic written in the 1960’s, but remains a thrilling read today. I was an avid reader as a child, so I am surprised that I never read any of Susan Cooper’s books back then.

It starts with Mr and Mrs Drew and their three children, Simon, Jane and Barney arriving on the train in Cornwall. Their Great-Uncle Merry (Professor Lyon) has rented an old holiday home in Trewissick from Captain Toms, whilst he is abroad. Rufus the dog and Mrs Palk the housekeeper both come with the house. Simon, Jane and Barney discover an ancient Arthurian treasure map, written in medieval Latin, whilst exploring in the attic. But Mr and Miss Withers from the yacht in the bay who initially try to befriend the Drews are also after the treasure, along with other bad people.

Danger, decoys, burglary, chases, night time adventures, snooping and kidnapping ensue whilst the children with Great Uncle Merry’s help try to follow the quest for the grail.

Over Sea Under Stone is a fabulous book for older children and teens. A great page turner which weaves Arthurian legend into the story.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Read With Me

The Blade Man by Debra Purdy Kong – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Blade Man by Debra Purdy Kong to review. You may find out more about Debra on her website.

The Blade Man by Debra Purdy Kong

Here is the book blurb.

Who is the Blade Man and why has this mysterious loner been attacking Mainland Public Transport bus drivers? And who is trying to burn MPT down? The company’s president suspects an inside job and orders security officer Casey Holland to launch an internal investigation or face termination.

Convinced that she’s being set up to fail, Casey feels the pressure. With her and Lou’s wedding only weeks away, Casey desperately needs answers, but anger at work and on the streets thwart her efforts. Nor do the police welcome her help.

More employees are attacked, and the president forces Casey to take deeper risks. But how much is too much? How far must she go before facing off with him and MPT’s enemies? Find out in this explosive sixth installment of Casey Holland transit mysteries.

This is book 6 in the Casey Holland Transit Mysteries series, but the first one that I have read. It is supposed to also work well as a stand-alone read, however I struggled to get into this book. In particular I was faced by jargon almost immediately on pages 2 and 3, which I always find a big turn-off. Firstly I had to look up RCMP which I discovered is Royal Canadian Mounted Police and then I unsuccessfully tried to look up MPT. The dictionary had 79 possible definitions. It was only much later I realised that it was shown in the blurb, however I did find the answer shortly afterwards on page 6. I don’t know if these would have been obvious if I had read earlier titles.

Chapter 1 was supposed to be exciting with the bus trying to edge through streets of riots, but I just felt underwhelmed. A bus security officer doesn’t sound much like a lead character really. However I persevered with the book, but initially it was hard work and took me quite a few chapters to start getting into it.

There were two main strands to the story, knife attacks and arson. Is it the same person or are there multiple perpetrators? Could it be an inside job? Casey is tasked to investigate.

Her fiancé Lou is a bus driver at the same company, which causes some complexities between her personal and professional life. Meanwhile she is guardian to 14 year old Summer who is pushing the boundaries. This is rather a piggy in the middle role for Casey between Summer and her mother Rhonda, who is serving a life sentence for second degree murder. Throw into the mix, a group of teenage bus spotters and another group of teenage thugs and you get a storyline that should also appeal to YA readers.

The Blade Man is available on Amazon in Kindle format. I would anticipate its release in paperback soon, as Debra’s earlier titles are also in paperback. This wasn’t really a book for me, but maybe I should have started with book one.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Read With Me

 

Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart to review. You may find out more about Charlotte on her website.

Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish by Charlotte Stuart

Here is the book blurb.

In ancient Greece, the chimera was a bad omen. In WHY ME? it’s a motive for murder.

Seattle consultant, Bryn Baczek, is vacationing in Scotland, hiking alone in a downpour, surrounded by midges, when she sees a body at the bottom of a ravine. Before she can return to the scene with the mountain rescue team, the body of the scientist disappears, along with the laptop containing his cutting-edge research.

Rumors that Bryn has the scientist’s laptop make her a target of both legal and illegal businesses that want to make fistfuls of money by growing customized human organs in animal chimeras.

Well the title and the cover of this book certainly drew me in, even though I had no idea what a chimera was before reading it.

The story starts with Bryn on holiday alone in Scotland, due to best friend Sophie cancelling at the last minute. She is following Sophie’s planned remote hike in torrential rain, plagued by midges, when she spots a body way below her at the bottom of a ravine. She scrambles down but the man is dead. From his wallet, she discovers his name Jared Blaine and coincidentally that he is also from Seattle, like her. But a noise spooks her and she leaves the scene, before returning with mountain rescue. However the body has disappeared and the mountain rescue team aren’t convinced whether to believe her or not, although she makes friends with Fiona, one of the team.

But Bryn knows what she saw and is determined to investigate the mystery herself, firstly in Scotland, where things just don’t add up,  and then back home in Seattle, where she ropes in neighbour Logan. They discover that Jared was a biomedical scientist. Coincidences abound, faces keep cropping up, and before long, she finds herself a target. Someone thinks she has Jared’s laptop. What length will they go to?

This is a great story, a light-hearted mystery with some thriller elements and plenty of red herrings to throw you off track. Plus it is fun too, with Bryn living on a boat with her mad cat.

And finally, chimera is a genetic term which rather than attempt to explain, I shall point you in the direction of the Wikipedia definition. And the Greek reference in the blurb is because in Greek mythology, a chimera is a hybrid creature, part lion, part goat and part snake. Chimera research is highly controversial, as it has the potential to save lives though biomedical treatments but raises serious bioethical questions.

Why Me? Chimeras, Conundrums and Dead Goldfish is available on Amazon in both kindle format and paperback. A good mystery, with some great twists.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Read With Me

 

The Legend of Gasparilla and his Treasure by Carolyn Arnold – book review

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Legend of Gasparilla and his Treasure by bestselling author Carolyn Arnold to review. I’ve read quite a few of Carolyn’s books, but this would be only my second one featuring Matthew Connor, probably my favourite of her lead characters, so I was very much looking forward to reading it. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

The Legend of Gasparilla and his Treasure by Carolyn Arnold

Here is the book blurb.

The beam of his flashlight bounces off the walls but does little to brighten the hidden room he just found. In the corner is a centuries-old desk. His heart hammering, he walks over to it and opens the top drawer. What he finds inside will change his future-and the world’s-forever.

For centuries, the existence of Spanish pirate José Gaspar has been relegated to legend, but archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor and his two best friends may have just found reason to believe the buccaneer truly existed. They’re in Washington, DC, to mark the opening of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History when a mysterious stranger turns up claiming he may hold the key to the mythical pirate’s treasure and invites them to join in his quest to find it.

Rumored to have sailed and plundered the Gulf of Mexico and the Spanish Main during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Gaspar would have amassed a vast fortune. But with only the stranger’s word and a token of proof, Matthew is intrigued but not sold-until it becomes personal. There’s an interested third party, and they’re willing to kill for the pirate’s bounty.

What ensues is a globe-trotting adventure that will take Matthew and his friends across the world and back again. Danger lurks around every corner as does betrayal, suspicion, and murder. Can anyone be trusted, and will they survive long enough to find out?

This is the third title in the Matthew Connor action-adventure series and is fine as a stand-alone read.

The story has a slow start but you know there is more to come from both the blurb and prologue. Professor Mel Wolf tantalises Matthew and his friends with a tale of murder and pirates treasure. Hours later they find themselves being chased under gunfire. Matthew is now sold on the idea of finding the treasure, but first he phones Daniel to check out Mel’s credentials, although he doesn’t reveal details of the quest. They then all remove SIMs from their phones to avoid tracking before Matthew charters a plane.

Meanwhile not only is Daniel investigating, but so are the police. A stray bullet has gone through a wall and killed someone. Who can piece what together?

And once Matthew’s group reach Spain, who can they trust? More deaths follow along with plenty of twists and turns.

The Legend of Gasparilla and his Treasure is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.99 in paperback or £4.03 in Kindle format. A gripping story from a brilliant author who has multiple series on the go. This would certainly make a good film.

Here are the links to my reviews of other books by Carolyn Arnold.
Remnants
Power Struggle
The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh
On the Count of Three
Shades of Justice
Exercise is Murder
Past Deeds

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Read With Me