Tag Archives: mystery

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

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Once Were Brothers by Lance Morcan – 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 Once Were Brothers by Lance Morcan to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Once Were Brothers by Lance Morcan

Here is the book blurb.

The Thomas family’s lives will never be the same again when seven-year-old Daniel Thomas is abducted from the family farm in New Zealand’s Far North by Maoris opposed to the presence of white settlers. Daniel’s father devotes his remaining years to searching for his missing blue-eyed, blond-haired son. Until his death a decade later, he’s assisted in his search by Daniel’s identical twin brother Benjamin. Like his late father, Benjamin believes Daniel is still alive. Twenty years later and now a family man himself with children of his own, Benjamin receives a tip-off that could confirm one way or another whether his brother is alive or dead.

This is a short story of just 60 pages, so ideal during lockdown whilst I’m struggling to concentrate on full-length novels.

This story is set in New Zealand, and starts in 1880. Nathaniel and Ingrid Thomas and their 8 year old identical twin sons Daniel and Benjamin live in the Far North of New Zealand. Whilst the twins are playing in the woods near the cottage, Maoris abduct Daniel, but Benjamin evades them and raises the alarm. Nathaniel rushes to search but although he finds tracks, he fails to find his missing son. He visits the Maori chief of one tribe to try to enlist help and also ropes in other settlers. But they search in vain, and as months pass, help dwindles and Nathaniel’s health deteriorates.

In part 2, the story fast forwards to 1910. What will ensue?

Once Were Brothers is available on Amazon, currently priced at £1.99 in Kindle format. An enjoyable short story, although I did feel the ending was rather abrupt. Also I can’t decide whether I like the cover or not.

Lance is a very versatile author as this is quite a different genre to the brilliant Silent Fear full-length novel that I absolutely loved, which he wrote with his son James, plus they write non-fiction and novellas too.

5 Short Story Gems by Lance Morcan

This is the third of Lance’s short stories that I have reviewed and last time, I mentioned how I thought they would be better in an anthology. Well guess what, that is exactly what has happened. Lance has re-released five of his short stories in a compendium.

5 Short Story Gems: Once Were Brothers / Mr. 100% / A Gladiator’s Love / The Last Tasmanian Tiger / Brooklyn Bankster

I’ll certainly be reading the other two titles. And I’d love to hear about your favourite books.

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Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree by David Ahern – book review

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

I have previously loved reading the Madam Tulip mysteries, so I was very pleased to receive a free e-copy of the fourth book in the series “Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree” by David Ahern to review.

Madam Tulip and The Serpent's Tree by David Ahern

Here is the book blurb.

Actress Derry O’Donnell, moonlighting as fortune-teller Madam Tulip, finds herself in a famous pop singer’s entourage. But at the star’s glittering birthday party in the Dublin mountains, Derry finds a band riven by rivalries and feuds. Behind the trouble is a mysterious Russian guru, a shaman hated by everyone but the singer whose life she dominates.

When the shaman mysteriously disappears, suspicion threatens to tear the band apart. Was she victim or poisoner? Guilty or innocent? Dead or alive?

Two brilliant and beautiful musicians; an ambitious band manager with a shady past; a sax player entranced by Vikings–each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip.

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree is fourth in the Madam Tulip mystery series, in which Derry O’Donnell, her sidekick Bruce and best friend Bella, play the most exciting and perilous roles of their acting lives.

The story begins with Derry, an actress trying to scrape a living in Dublin, accompanying her best friend Bella to meet Pat Kelly, bar and club owner and manager of famous pop band Maramar. Bella sells them to Kelly as a theatre company who could perform at his venue. So they along with friend Bruce start to plan their first production, when Bella lets on that Kelly also wants Derry as Madam Tulip, her fortune-telling persona at a birthday party for Aileen, Maramar’s lead singer. Derry doesn’t want to do it, but Bella says that without Madam Tulip, the theatre deal is off, so Derry reluctantly agrees.

They head to an estate in the Dublin mountains for the party, where Derry as Madam Tulip begins her evening’s work by telling fortune for band member Mia who is taken ill during the reading. Has Mia been poisoned?

Readings follow for Nils, the saxophone player who particularly criticises Kira, Aileen’s shaman. Then for Aileen who is worried because Kira has disappeared.

Meanwhile, Derry’s artist dad, Jacko is writing a biography. Her mother Vanessa says it will ruin Jacko’s career and begs Derry to stop him.

The main mystery appears to be regarding Kira. Why has she disappeared? Is there something sinister? And as Derry starts to unravel it, is she in danger herself?

Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree is newly published on Amazon, currently priced at £3.10 in kindle format. Another great mystery which I thoroughly recommend. And I love how humour is wound into the story too. I certainly hope there will be a book 5.

Here are the links to my reviews of the previous Madam Tulip titles.
Madam Tulip
Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts
Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance


About the author

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland. He become a research psychologist in Scotland and the Netherlands, before inevitably his genes kicked in and he absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

After stints playing in great bands, all doomed to obscurity, and writing equally obscure plays, he took to novel-writing. He now creates the Madam Tulip mysteries, in part as a tribute to the way actors never give up dreaming, but mostly to make himself laugh and scratch his head. David Ahern loves pretending this is actual work.

David lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, a cat, a tame pheasant, a clan of badgers and a vegetable garden.

You can learn more about David Ahern and the Madam Tulip mysteries from his website www.davidahern.info

Connect with David Ahern on Facebook: www.facebook.com/davidahernwriter
and Twitter: www.twitter.com/daveahernwriter
and Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/davidahern

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The Heathrow Affair by Lance & James Morcan

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 Heathrow Affair by Lance & James Morcan to review. You may find out more about the authors on their website.

The Heathrow Affair by Lance & James Morcan

Here is the book blurb.

Young Heathrow Airport employee John Woods seems to have it all – a career he loves and the girl of his dreams. But all is not what it seems in this aviation love triangle…

John’s life is turned upside down when his beloved Sandra announces she’s leaving him for a dashing pilot employed by the same international airline John works for.

When John is blamed for a mid-air incident that has catastrophic consequences for one of the airline’s aircraft, he and Sandra are reunited in a way neither could ever have imagined.

This story is told from the point of view of John Woods, a young aviation engineering apprentice working at Heathrow. It starts with John’s wife Sandra leaving him, telling him that she is pregnant but that the baby may not be his and that she is filing for divorce. What a bombshell for John.

Sandra doesn’t tell him who the other guy is, but it turns out to be Richard King, one of the pilots. Although John’s life has been turned upside-down, he maintains normality at work.

But then there is a serious incident with one of the planes over the Atlantic due to windscreen failure. John is one of the personnel blamed in the investigation. Can things get worse?

A short story but with intriguing twists and turns. It has been very cleverly worded so you don’t guess.

The Heathrow Affair is available on Amazon, currently priced at £1.99 in Kindle format. A nice romantic aviation mystery. Very versatile authors as quite a different genre to their brilliant Silent Fear novel that I absolutely loved, plus they write non-fiction too.

I’d love to hear about your favourite book.

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The Meerkat Murders by R J Corgan

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 Meerkat Murders by R J Corgan to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Meerkat Murders by R J Corgan

Here is the book blurb.

After an old friend calls in a favor, geologist Kea Wright joins a team of biologists studying meerkats in the Kalahari.

Seduced by the expedition’s luxurious accommodations, state-of-the-art equipment, and daily baskets of fresh muffins, Kea begins to wonder if she picked the wrong field of research. Until people start dying…

This is the sequel to Cold Flood which I reviewed last year, again with Kea Wright as the central character, but works as a stand-alone read too.

In the previous book, she was in Iceland. Now she is in Botswana in the Kalahari desert at a meerkat colony. Her friend Tamaya and husband Addi, who are in charge of a team of biologists studying the meerkats, had invited her to join them. It will be their last season in the field before Addi retires.

But middle of the next night there is a scream. Addi has been bitten. Is it a snake? Scorpion? Whilst three of the team drive Addi to the hospital, Kea, Katherine and Gwen search for the creature. Kea succeeds in capturing a furry spider, which they identify online as a sand spider, the deadliest spider in the world. But no details of an anti-venom.

Kea is immediately suspicious that it is no accident. Even before they hear that Addi is dead, she is playing detective and coming up with motives.

Meanwhile rhino poachers keep knocking out the camera feeds, and then kill one of the meerkat colonies. Why would they do that?

And then another of the team dies. What is going on?

As well as being an entertaining read, the story is also educational as regards meerkats, a species I certainly didn’t know much about.

The Meerkat Murders is available on Amazon, currently priced at £12.21 in paperback or 97p in Kindle format. An interesting premise for a story.

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Blindsided by Narc Narcisse

I have received a free e-copy of the book Blindsided by Narc Narcisse to review. To find out more about the author, you may see his Goodreads page.

Blindsided by Narc Narcisse

Here is the book blurb.

“I’m excited, I’m nervous, I’m curious. What will he be like? What will he look like? How tall will he be?” Tonight, Emma embarks on her first-ever blind date. Mark’s not what she expected. Emma’s not what he expected. Whoever set these two up knew this beforehand…1-Tattoos. 2-Wine. 3-Pills. 4-Blindfolds. 5-Handcuffs. 6-Sex. In twenty-four hours, Emma experiences five of the six; Mark, two. This innocent rendezvous has guilt written all over it!

I wasn’t sure whether I would like this book as the blurb makes it sound a bit kinky, but as the author had assured me it was not an erotica genre read, I decided to give it a go. And so pleased that I did.

The story starts with a blind date between Emma and Mark arranged through the secretive referral only BlindSided dating company (BSD). Neither of them is what the other expected, as BSD deliberately blindside their clients, which they twigged once they met, but the two of them certainly clicked.

However they are only two of a larger number of characters, all central to the story, which encompasses death and rape, not graphic through. So many suspense filled twists and turns throughout, with plenty of sub-plots too. What a page turner.

But I wasn’t entirely sure I liked the style in which this book was written with narrative and flashbacks interspersed, but luckily it didn’t detract too much.

Blindsided is available on Amazon currently priced at £7.86 in Kindle format and is also available in paperback. A gripping read. Highly recommended.

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

Exercise is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

I have received a free e-copy of the book Exercise is Murder by bestselling author Carolyn Arnold to review. I’ve enjoyed several of Carolyn’s books, so I was looking forward to reading this one too. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Exercise is Murder by Carolyn Arnold

Here is the book blurb.

Getting in shape isn’t an easy walk in the park…

Running junkie Katie Carpenter takes a tumble down a ravine and ends up facedown in the Hudson River. The police conclude her death was an accident, but those who were close to Katie aren’t buying that she just tripped and fell—including her pro-athlete boyfriend. But it’s Katie’s fitness trainer and friend who hires the McKinleys to investigate.

Anything but an easy case to solve, Sean and Sara will break a sweat trying to figure out who had the most to gain from the young woman’s death. Sadly for Sean most of the evidence seems stacked against Katie’s boyfriend—a man Sean idolizes. Can he put aside being starstruck long enough to view things objectively? If Katie’s killer is going to be caught, he and Sara will need to remain flexible and it might require bending the rules a bit.

This is book 12 in the McKinley Mysteries: Short & Sweet Cozies, but I found it worked very well as a stand-alone read. Also a different genre to the other titles I’ve read by Carolyn, as they have mostly been thrillers.

Married couple Sean and Sara McKinley used to work for the police but are now private investigators, with a small team. Sara’s personal trainer Mirela asks them to investigate the death of Katie Carpenter, another of her fitness clients and friend. Katie was out running and ended up in the Hudson River. Police say it was an accident but Mirela believes Katie, a keen runner, was pushed.

They start the case by getting Jimmy to visit the morgue and Adam, their tech wizard to check out Katie’s social media. Is it murder? Suspects, motives, clues.

I was particularly drawn to this story as I enjoy running myself. And I love the classification of short & sweet cozies. It sums the book up brilliantly. A real page turner of a mystery that I didn’t want to put down. And although thoroughly modern, made me think back to the days of the golden greats. I would certainly like to read some of the other titles in this series.

Exercise is Murder is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.99 in paperback or £2.76 in Kindle format. Another gripping story as per usual from best-selling author Carolyn Arnold. I can highly recommend you grab a cup of tea and put your feet up to read this book.

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

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

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

I have received a free e-copy of the book Lady in the Lake by best-selling author Laura Lippman to review. To find out more about the author, you may see her website here.

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

Here is the book blurb.

Cleo Sherwood disappeared eight months ago. Aside from her parents and the two sons she left behind, no one seems to have noticed. It isn’t hard to understand why: it’s 1964 and neither the police, the public nor the papers care much when Negro women go missing.

Maddie Schwartz – recently separated from her husband, working her first job as an assistant at the Baltimore Sun- wants one thing: a byline. When she hears about an unidentified body that’s been pulled out of the fountain in Druid Hill Park, Maddie thinks she is about to uncover a story that will finally get her name in print. What she can’t imagine is how much trouble she will cause by chasing a story that no-one wants her to tell.

The story, set in Baltimore in 1964-66 alternates between being narrated by Maddie Schwartz and missing Cleo Sherwood, also known as the Lady in the Lake, plus chapters by other minor characters.

Maddie leaves her husband Milton after nearly 20 years but teenage son Seth refuses to come with her. To make ends meet, she fakes a robbery of her diamond engagement ring, at which point she meets black patrolman Ferdie Platt. She starts to move in different circles with new friend Judith Weinstein, who is cultivating Maddie as a means to an end. And she also starts an affair with Ferdie.

Meanwhile  Cleo had disappeared on New Year’s Eve. The story then flits to 11 year old Tessie Fine disappearing. Maggie and Judith discover Tessie’s body. And subsequently Maggie bizarrely writes to the person suspected of Tessie’s murder, who writes back to her. She used this correspondence to try to get a job at The Star newspaper.

And so it goes on. I have to say this book did nothing for me. It wasn’t interesting and I found the narration by minor characters disjointed. And I didn’t feel any empathy with the characters. It did get a bit better later, but by then I had already switched off.

Lady in the Lake, published by Faber & Faber is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in kindle format. Sadly I didn’t enjoy this book.


I’m participating in the blog tour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts. Hopefully they enjoyed the book more than I did.

Lady in the Lake by Laura Lippman

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

Lost in Vegas by Ian Jones

I have received a free e-copy of the book Lost in Vegas by Ian Jones to review. To find out more about the author, you may see his facebook page.

Lost in Vegas by Ian Jones

Here is the book blurb.

John Smith is a man who solves problems, just don’t try to stop him. He is in Las Vegas trying to track down a missing woman, which should be a simple job. But he soon discovers he is not welcome, and there are those who want to make sure he leaves the city fast, in one way or another.

This book was written a while ago, but has recently been republished to coincide with the release of the second title in The Desert Thriller Series, North of the Rock.

John Smith has been hired in the UK by diamond multi-millionaire businessman Richard Cromwell and sons to go to Las Vegas to find his missing daughter Abby and hopefully also recover a million pounds from his ex-managing director Thomas who has also gone to ground in Vegas. No help has been forthcoming from Pablo Escola, son of Richard’s Vegas business associate Francesco, who retired without warning a couple of years ago. Why has 26 year old Abby run away with Thomas, who is 30 years older than her? Why is Pablo making threats? What has happened to Francesco?

John puts plans into place to book into about 10 different hotels in Vegas, including the Acropolis which is run by Pablo, before flying. Arriving at Vegas airport, he spots two thugs waiting for him on the concourse. He manages to put them both out of action by breaking their arms, but who knew he was coming?

John keeps moving two steps ahead of those searching for him, but keeps drawing a blank in his search for either Abby or Thomas. Where is she? Is she still alive? Who can he approach?

This is a real page-turner with loads of twists and turns in a great plot line.

Lost in Vegas is available on Amazon currently priced at £7.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A gripping read. Highly recommended. I’m certainly adding follow-up book North of the Rock to my list of books to read.

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

Initiated to Kill by Sharlene Almond – Book review and giveaway

I have received a free e-copy of the book Initiated to Kill by Sharlene Almond to review. For more information on the author, you may see her website.

Initiated to Kill by Sharlene Almond

Here is the book blurb.

Two men from two different generations, both initiated into a powerful organization that throughout history has sought control and uses their power for destruction. They leave behind a wake of murder, manipulation and ancient secrets. The first man wreaks havoc in and around the Whitechapel district of London, England in the 19th century. While the other stalks his victims in the cosmopolitan city of Seville, Spain in the 21st century; knowing that only he could uncover the true motives of one of the world’s most infamous serial killers—Jack the Ripper.

Most of the story takes place in Seville in 2010 but it also includes flashbacks to Annabella’s childhood and to earlier incidents featuring the bad guys. Plus the tale of Jack the Ripper is another main element and Freemasonary plays a part too.

Annabella is deaf due to a childhood injury, but she is able to read body and facial expressions. Her flatmate Celestina is the first girl to disappear, which she reports to the police.

Meanwhile the police start receiving anonymous gruesome packages. Detective Valero is called back in from sabbatical leave to work on the case with Detective Rivero. As more girls disappear, the link appears to be that they all attend Seville University. The detectives call upon Annabella’s skills in reading people and hide her behind the glass when interviewing their first suspect.

Lots of twists to come in this story.

Although I’m a huge thriller fan, I did find this one rather too graphic, in its descriptions of dismembering victims’ organs.

After finishing reading the book, I did feel compelled to look up the tale of Jack The Ripper and I saw that the name mentioned in this story was one of the possible suspects for the unidentified serial killer.

Initiated To Kill is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.18 in paperback or £2.99 in Kindle format. A thrilling mysterious read with an interesting weaving of the storylines.

This book is recommended for adult readers only, due to its graphic content.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of this book to 1 lucky winner, who may choose whether they wish for their prize to be signed by the author or not.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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