Monday, July 31, 2017

Book Chat - August Cozy Mysteries from Berkley

This is not my best book chat. In fact, when editing, I missed one of the titles. Fortunately, I have Jinx to blame. He was a little distracting this time. It always takes me a while to film this because he insists on sitting in front of the camera, purring away.




Here are the August releases, including the one I missed while editing.

Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen - 10th Royal Spyness Mystery (1st time in paperback)
Wrong Side of the Paw by Laurie Cass - 6th Bookmobile Cat Mystery
** - Missed - Addressed to Kill by Jean Flowers - 3rd Postmistress Mystery
Muffin to Fear by Victoria Hamilton (5th Merry Muffin Mystery)
A Tangled Yarn by Betty Hechtman (5th Yarn Retreat Mystery)
Chime and Punishment by Julianne Holmes (3rd Clock Shop Mystery)
Dressed to Confess by Diane Vallere (3rd Costume Shop Mystery)

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Dead, To Begin With by Bill Crider

"Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatsoever about that." With the opening lines of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol as the inspiration for his new mystery, Bill Crider challenges Sheriff Dan Rhodes. Is Jake Marley's death accidental or murder in Dead, To Begin With? And, Crider throws Dickens' ghost story at the sheriff who professes to be a disbeliever.

Jake Marley was a wealthy recluse who finally left the family home to buy the Clearview Opera House with the intention of renovating it. He even hired a college English teacher to turn A Christmas Carol into a Texas production. But, before his plans could be publicized, Marley is found dead on the stage. It appears he fell from the wooden grids overhead, but Sheriff Rhodes is suspicious, and requests an autopsy. When the results come back, Rhodes starts to ask questions. And eventually, those questions lead to the past.

"The past was never dead in a small town." And, Rhodes, who investigates by talking to people, is struck by the similarity of the stories he hears. No one talked to Marley lately. He became a recluse after the tragic death of his sister years earlier. And, now, "Marley was dead."

Once again, Bill Crider strikes all the right notes in his mystery filled with quirky, engaging characters. It's always a treat to catch up with Sheriff Rhodes, his wife, Ivy, and Hack and Lawton, the Abbott and Costello team of dispatcher and jailer, the college professors who are ghost hunters. Crider gathers all of them in this book. There's a homespun tone to the Sheriff Dan Rhodes stories. They're amusing, but the sheriff always takes crime seriously. He's a shrewd man who listens carefully, and understands people, his dogs, and his cats. Crider understands his audience as well, and gives all of his readers a present, bringing a little Dickens, along with wonderful characters, to the latest story, Dead, To Begin With.

Although Bill Crider's website is http://www.billcrider.com, he and his VBKs (Very Bad Kittens) can also be found on Facebook.

Dead, To Begin With by Bill Crider. Minotaur Books, 2017. ISBN 9781250078537 (hardcover), 272p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Besieged by Kevin Hearne

Travel back in time, and all over the world with a two-thousand-year-old Irish Druid in Kevin Hearne's story collection, Besieged.  Atticus O'Sullivan relates some of his adventures to his apprentice, Granuaile, and his Irish wolfhound, Oberon. There are a few other storytellers as well in this entertaining anthology that features gods and demons and witches and Shakespeare.

That's right. My favorite story is "Goddess at the Crossroads", Atticus' story of meeting Shakespeare, and accompanying the drunken playwright on a nighttime adventure. Shakespeare had heard of witches who were to meet, and that story of robbery and murder and violence led to the witches in "Macbeth". But, it's a story only a Druid could tell.

There's already something creepy about carnivals, but "The Demon Barker of Wheat Street" reveals how horrifying a Kansas carnival can become. Atticus needs Oberon's help in this story of imps and demons and death.

Over the course of Hearne's Iron Druid Chronicles, Atticus has traveled the world, trying to avoid avenging gods. Like Rick Riordan, Hearne incorporates mythology and religion, but these accounts are not for children. These stories are violent, irreverent, and fun. In Besieged, Hearne incorporates legends and gods that are timeless, and fascinating.

Kevin Hearne's website is www.kevinhearne.com

Besieged by Kevin Hearne. Del Rey. 2017. ISBN 9780399181733 (hardcover), 235p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought a copy of the book.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Winners & No Contest This Week

Congratulations to the winners of the last contest. G.B. from East Lansing, MI won the copy of Kate Carlisle's Once Upon a Spine. Betsy L. from Midlothian, VA won A Just Clause by Lorna Barrett. I'll put them in the mail tomorrow.

There's no contest this week. I'll be at a conference next week, and won't have a chance to run the contest or mail the books. If you're only here for the giveaways, come back on Friday, August. 4 when I kick off another giveaway.

If you're here for more, check out Kristopher Zgorski's blog today, http://bolobooks.com. Sometime today, under Articles, and then Composite Sketch, Kristopher will post the interview he did with me. He asks interesting questions, so I hope you stop by.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth

Local History and culture. Politics. And, of course, murder. Branson, Missouri's Sheriff Hank Worth faces it all in Claire Booth's Another Man's Ground. It's an outstanding police procedural with touches of humor throughout.

When Vern Miles reports the theft of bark from his trees, Sheriff Worth doesn't realize it will snowball into a murder investigation, solve a cold case, and, either help him win an election. Or, the case may go all wrong, and the voters might see him as a bumbling fool who doesn't understand the local politics. Miles harvests bark to sell for the growing herbal medicinal trade, but someone stripped and killed his trees. But, when Worth returns to the scene of the crime, he and a deputy startle workers, illegal immigrants who flee. One, though, falls into an old grave, uncovering a body. It's only going to get worse as Worth tangles with one of the most powerful men in the county.

And, of course, he's standing for election while dealing with the investigation. A second body brings claims of incompetence from Worth's opponent and his supporters. And, Worth is the first one to blame himself. He can't stand the thought of campaigning and working with a political consultant, but if he's to clean up some of the cronyism in the department, and stay in the area, he has to put up a fight. But, Sheriff Hank Worth would rather be on the ground fighting crime instead of at a luncheon making a speech.

Booth's second book in the series is an outstanding follow-up to The Branson Beauty. Worth is a dedicated lawman whose family life adds traces of humor to the book. However, it's Booth's outstanding writing of police work and investigation that shines in this fascinating story. Crime, politics, and racism in southern Missouri, along with the good old boy network add up to Another Man's Ground.

Claire Booth's website is http://www.clairebooth.com/. She's also on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/claireboothauthor

Another Man's Ground by Claire Booth. Minotaur Books. 2017. ISBN 9781250084415 (hardcover), 320p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to participate in a TLC Blog Tour.


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

What Are You Reading?

I hope you're all around today because I'm a day early with this question. I promised Thursday for a book review - go figure. I'll be reviewing Claire Booth's second Hank Worth mystery set in Branson, Missouri, Another Man's Ground. In fact, that's what I'm reading right now. Once I finish it, I'll be picking up Kevin Hearne's Besieged: Stories from The Iron Druid Chronicles. If I finish it by Tuesday (and I should), I can pass it on to my nephew. I introduced him to this series, and he and I both enjoy it.


What are you reading or listening to this week? You can still tell us on Thursday if you only stop by then. We'd love to know!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

The Dress in the Window by Sofia Grant

It's release day for Sophie Littlefield's historical novel, The Dress in the Window, written under the name Sofia Grant. The character-driven book takes readers back to the period from 1948 to 1952, a time when women who lost men in the war had to find a way to make a living and survive, while learning to be harder and stronger than they had planned.

In 1948 in Brunskill, Pennsylvania, a former mill town, three women struggle to make a living. Jeanne Brink lost her fiancé in the war, and she's now living in the attic of the house owned by her sister's mother-in-law, Thelma. Jeanne's sister, Peggy, is widowed with a young daughter, Tommie, named after her late husband. Jeanne, a talented seamstress, alters and makes dresses for other women. Some of those dresses are based on Peggy's designs. And, Peggy, who finds work in a department store, has bigger dreams. She wants to work in advertising or fashion design. But, those are wild dreams that would take her out of the mill town where she grew up.

For a while, Jeanne and Peggy are a team, but the family needs conspire against them. Although Thelma finds a way for the group to keep the house and make more money, her plans tear about dreams, and the family unit. And, suddenly the two sisters find themselves with different needs and desires.

The Dress in the Window is a bittersweet novel. None of the characters are perfect, but all three women are striving to find some sort of success, some sort of happiness in a world without the men they loved. At times, they take desperate measures. But, it's a time when women were sometimes forced to take desperate measures in order to survive and make it in a world where men held the power.

Grant, who has written novels about women taking control of their lives, and finding their own strength and power, addresses a forgotten period in The Dress in the Window. In some ways, she has taken on the story of forgotten women, those left behind by the war, forced to fight their own battles. As I said, it's a bittersweet story.

The Dress in the Window by Sofia Grant. William Morrow. 2017. ISBN 9780062499721 (paperback), 384p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publicist sent me a copy of the book so I could participate in the blog tour on release date, with no promise of a favorable review.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Murder at Chateau sur Mer by Alyssa Maxwell

Don't make the same mistake I did. If Alyssa Maxwell's Murder at Chateau sur Mer sounds interesting to you, go back and start at the beginning of the series, not with the fifth book. I have an excuse. I was reading it for a review. But, you've been warned that it's best to start at the beginning and get to know the characters. It's not that you can't start with this one. It's fine, but I was so intrigued that I wish I didn't know what had happened in the previous books.

In the 1890s, Newport, Rhode Island was an enclave for the Four Hundred, the wealthy who dominated society. Emma Cross is a less-well-off cousin of the Vanderbilts. She has to work to keep Gull Manor, the house she inherited from her great aunt. She takes in "less fortunate sisters". Emma is a society reporter for the local newspaper. She's covering a polo match when she overhears snippets of conversation about U.S. Senator George Wetmore, conversation that sounds threatening. When a young woman tries to approach Mrs. Wetmore during the match, Emma's curiosity is aroused. And, when a police detective friend, Jesse Whyte, calls in the early morning, and asks Emma to go to the Wetmores' house, Chateau sur Mer, she's even more curious. That same young woman from the polo match has been found dead at the foot of the stairs at the Wetmores'.

Mrs. Wetmore asks Emma to investigate, but she never intended Emma to pry into her family life and secrets. But, Emma is even more interested in the life of the victim. When she finds the victim was a prostitute, she follows the clues into a brothel, knowing none of the men in her life would get answers there. It's just the first place Emma goes that scandalizes society, and results in changes to her own life. But, she's driven for a passion for the truth. Who killed the young woman? Who wanted to ruin Senator Wetmore?

Murder at Chateau sur Mer is a fascinating historical mystery with a cast filled with recognizable names. Emma herself is an attractive narrator who understands the gifts she's received because of her family connections, and the lack of support for the victim. It's a mystery of class and division, an intriguing story of the haves and have-nots during the Gilded Age.

Don't do as I did. Go back, and start with Murder at the Breakers if you like American historical mysteries.

Alyssa Maxwell's website is www.alyssamaxwell.com

Murder at Chateau sur Mer by Alyssa Maxwell. Kensington. 2017. ISBN 978149703323 (hardcover), 304p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received a copy to review for a journal.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Have You Heard? - Charlaine Harris' Living Dead in Dallas

Thank you to Sandie Herron for another audiobook review!

Living Dead in Dallas
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51Ckqs0f-9L._AA300_.jpgSookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery Book 2
Written by Charlaine Harris
Narrated by Johanna Parker
Unabridged Audiobook
Listening Time: 8 hours and 52 minutes
Publisher: Recorded Books (5/8/2008)
Originally published by Ace Books as a PBO on 3/26/2002

Telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse lives in Bon Temps, Louisiana and works at Merlotte’s Bar and Grill.  While Sookie works the late shift at the bar, Detective Andy Bellefleur ties one on, and they must call his sister to pick him up since he cannot drive home drunk.  Upon arriving at Merlotte’s the next day, Sookie finds the cook Lafayette very dead in detective Andy Bellefleur’s car which had been left at the bar.   It looks as if Lafayette’s bragging about a sex party he’d attended has gotten him into trouble.  Who are the people who hosted this party, and who else attended?  What are they hiding?

Sookie’s vampire lover Bill and Sookie herself have been summoned by his superior Eric who runs the vampire bar Fangtasia in nearby Shreveport.  As Bill and Sookie drive to see Eric, they quarrel, and Sookie jumps out of the car. In the dark night, Sookie is accosted by a maenad, a creature that fills her body with poison via the wounds she inflicts on Sookie’s back. The only way to save Sookie’s life is to suck the poison out, which the vampires at Fangtasia happily do.  They replenish her blood supply with their own blood which is very healing to humans.  Her payback is to help the vampires in Dallas, Texas who have requested help in dealing with trouble from a group of people who have joined together to form the Church of the Sun that in the broad sense opposes vampires completely and more specifically may be hiding a missing vampire.

Upon her arrival in Dallas, Sookie is asked to read the minds of some local human bar patrons in order to determine if they saw a specific vampire just before he disappeared.  With that knowledge, the nest in Dallas hopes to find their “brother.”  Suspecting that he is being held by members of the Church of the Sun, Sookie and another human pose as a couple interested in joining the church.  The pair is given a tour of the church but then is prevented from leaving, being introduced to vampire Godric who wants to repent his ways and “meet the sun” at dawn.  

As a church member attempts to rape Sookie, she fights back and with Godric’s help she avoids deadly attempts on her life.  Sookie escapes the church helped by a local shapeshifter.  Unfortunately, members of the church pursue them and cause an accident. Sookie and the shapeshifter are upside down and trapped in the car when more church members chase them.  

Will police arrive in time to free Sookie before church members reach her?  What happens to the shapeshifter who helped her?  Will Sookie find Bill and warn the vampire community of these church members claiming retribution?    Will the missing vampire be returned to his nest unharmed?  Will Godric meet the dawn?  And if Sookie makes it back to Bon Temps, will she discover who killed Lafayette?

Johanna Parker narrates the audiobook superbly. She conveys the many emotions presented in this second series entry.  Her reading brings the book to life and contributes realistic voices along with Sookie’s lively southern accent.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Winners and Book-Related Mysteries

Congratulations to the winners of the last giveaway. Dianne O. from Oak Park, IL will receive the ARC of Hannah Dennison's Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall. Virginia D. from Tempe, AZ won Shadow Man by Alan Drew. The books will go out in the mail tomorrow.

This week, I'm giving away copies of book-related mysteries. I have a first edition of Kate Carlisle's Bibliophile mystery, Once Upon a Spine. This time, bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright's interest is a rare editor of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. It's just part of the rabbit hole world of bookshops, murder, and rare books. And, while she deals with all of that, Brooklyn faces the first meeting with her future in-laws who are arriving from England.






There's family problems in Booktown in Lorna Barrett's A Just Clause, another first edition.  Mystery bookstore owner and amateur sleuth, Tricia Miles, is in for a surprise when her "ne-er-do-well father, John, comes to town - and promptly becomes a prime suspect in the murder of a woman with her own scandalous past. Even Tricia's faith in the old man is shaken when the Stoneham police break the news that her father is a known con man who has done jail time." Tricia is determined to clear the family name before another body shows up.

Which book-related mystery would you like to win? You can enter to win both, but I need separate entries. Email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject heading should read either "Win Once Upon a Spine" or "Win A Just Clause." Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please. The giveaway will end Thursday, July 27 at 5 PM CT.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

What Are You Reading?



Whatever I'm reading today, I'm reading on the plane as I fly back to Nashville from New York City. I've been on vacation for a week, spending time, as always, at Broadway shows, and visiting with a friend from Arizona.

So, you'll actually have to talk amongst yourselves, and I know you'll carry on the conversation. What are you reading or listening to today?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Have You Heard? - Charlaine Harris' Dead Until Dark

Thanks, again, to Sandie Herron, who writes the audiobook reviews here!

Dead Until Dark
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51crs%2B5Py2L._AA300_.jpgSookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery Book 1
Written by Charlaine Harris
Narrated by Johanna Parker
Unabridged Audiobook
Listening Length:  10 hours
Publisher:  Recorded Books  (9/12/2007)
originally published as  PBO on 5/1/2001
Literary Awards:  2002 Anthony Award for Best Paperback Original,
2002 Dilys Award Nominee, 2001 Agatha Award Nominee for Best Novel

Charlaine Harris accomplishes a near-impossible task in this unique series as she combines elements of mystery, Southern cozy, romance, fantasy, and supernatural lore to create a new genre of novel featuring a telepath who falls in love with a vampire.  When medicine discovers that vampires are victims of an incurable virus and creates synthetic blood to meet their needs, vampires gain legal status all over the world.  Vampires have “come out” to varying degrees of acceptance.

The small town of Bon Temps, Louisiana is home to Sookie Stackhouse who states that she has a disability:  she can read minds.  Most people do not accept her claim and think she is weird, crazy, or simple.  She is a waitress at the local hot spot, Merlotte’s Bar and Grill, where she has learned to suppress her mind reading disability.  Until one day a handsome man enters the bar, and Sookie knows something is different about him; she cannot read his mind no matter how hard she tries.  She is waiting on the first vampire to arrive in Bon Temps.

In quick succession Sookie saves vampire Bill from drainers who want to sell his blood.  Bill saves Sookie from the same drainers when they retaliate by beating her; and a relationship is born between the two.  They quickly fall in love despite their cultural differences.

Sookie lives with her grandmother in the old family farmhouse across the cemetery from vampire Bill Compton.  Sookie’s brother, Jason, lives where their parents had before they were killed in a flash flood.  Jason attracts women with little effort more than a smile.  He often visits Merlotte’s Bar to pick up a companion for the evening.

Merlotte’s is buzzing following the discovery of Maudette Pickens dead in her bed.  Not long after, it is buzzing again with news of waitress Dawn’s strangulation.  The local sheriff doesn’t often solve murder cases.  Now his detective, Andy Bellefleur, would have his hands full with the deaths of two loose women who liked vampires.  They had both bedded Jason Stackhouse, who becomes a prime suspect.

The community of Bon Temps is stunned with news of yet another murder.  Sookie’s grandmother has been killed following a meeting of the Descendents of the Glorious Dead featuring Bill Compton’s recollections of the Civil War.  The Sheriff thinks the murderer intended to kill Sookie, since she now loved a vampire.  Sookie’s world has crashed down around her as she mourns Gran’s death.  Who is this killer who is preying on unskilled females who like vampires?  Who will be his next victim?

Some  of the enjoyment of this audiobook is due to the many talents of Johanna Parker.  The accents given the characters are accurate and appropriate for the story.  The dialog is spot on, with the variations of “she said” fading into the background almost as if never written, letting the actual dialog sing.  The story is told from Sookie’s perspective which makes it more intimate with her narrative voice.  Ms. Parker reads so well that the story truly does come alive.  She even makes the occasional humorous side comments that really zap the reader’s funny bone.

One cannot think of the Sookie Stackhouse series of a dozen novels without considering the HBO original series “True Blood” based on them.  The TV series took the world of Sookie Stackhouse created by Charlaine Harris and twisted it and turned it into something quite different.  While the HBO series could accurately claim it was based on the books, I felt it took them and created a different world with problems and solutions far outside the range of the books, beginning with the first episode.  It is imperative that the reader understand that the books and the TV series are totally different and remove them from each other to enjoy each separately.

This review is on the first book about Sookie Stackhouse and her friends and family in a small Southern town.  I very much enjoyed the entire story, the solution to the murders, the supernatural world we enter, the world of Sookie Stackhouse and her vampire lover.  I am addicted to this fairy tale and look forward to each of the subsequent books in this enchanting series.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Arrowood by Mick Finlay

Mick Finlay's atmospheric debut mystery, Arrowood, reminds me of a television show from 2011-2012. "Copper" was about an Irish cop working in a dangerous neighborhood in New York City in the 1860s. Arrowood takes readers to the dangerous streets of South London in 1895, but it's the same gritty type of setting.

William Arrowood is an investigative agent who resents Sherlock Holmes' success. He insists to his assistant, Norman Barnett, that he's better at reading people than Holmes is. But, he still takes Caroline Consture's case, even though he knows she's lying when she asks him to find her missing brother. When Barnett and Arrowood learn the brother, Thierry, worked for the notorious Mr. Cream, they wish they had refused. A woman who knew Thierry is killed just before she can meet with the two men. Witnesses die or disappear when they know about Cream. Or, they're beaten and have their house set afire, with them in it.

As the two men investigate, they tangle with police, Cream's men, and an unknown killer. Their search puts them in danger, but also endangers those around them, including their errand boy and Arrowood's sister. Eventually, they are so caught up in plots involving Cream, the Fenians, the police, and the War Office that Barnett says, "Sometimes I lose sight of the case."

That's the problem with Arrowood. Sometimes I lost sight of the case as well. There were too many groups and people in this historical mystery, and it was hard to remember what the original case involved. Finlay does an excellent job telling the story of the working people just struggling to survive in 1895 London. But, it's hard to remember who all the working people are.

Arrowood by Mick Finlay. MIRA. 2017. ISBN 9780778330943 (paperback), 352p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Shallow Grave by Brian Thiem

Brian Thiem truly is one of those authors who writes what he knows. He spent twenty-five years with the Oakland Police Department, working homicide as a detective sergeant, and later as commander of the homicide section. He also served in the Army. Detective Matt Sinclair, now making his third appearance in Thiem's series, is a detective sergeant in homicide in Oakland, and an Army veteran. Hmmm. The latest book in the series is  Shallow Grave.

After a city-wide bust of the Savage Simbas Motorcycle Club, Sinclair is in the office, and catches a call to take a look at a shallow grave and body discovered at the Police Activities League camp. He's the one who recognizes the body, his former partner and training officer, Phil Roberts. Roberts was now the Intel unit sergeant, but everyone in homicide was eager to find the man's killer. Sinclair and his partner, Sergeant Cathy Braddock, are lead on the case. At least they're the leads until Sinclair pushes too much, asking questions of a city councilman's family and staff when the police chief had warned him to stay away. Now, Sinclair is suspended. As Roberts' designee, he can still clean out his friend's locker. But, the money he finds in the locker leads him to suspect Roberts might not have been as honest as he appeared.

Only a suspended cop who goes rogue could continue to investigate a murder that may have larger repercussions. Sinclair links names and connections to a previous case covered in Thrill Kill. The chase of a killer will lead him to unlikely allies, and a surprising conclusion. What was Phil Roberts doing that led to his murder?

Thiem's latest police procedural is complicated, involving many people. But, it was satisfying to see the cases overlapping as officers worked on multiple cases at a time. Only Sinclair was given the liberty to work on one investigation, because he was suspended. Shallow Grave is an enjoyable police procedural for those of us who appreciate the methodology and logical plotting of a story.

Brian Thiem's website is www.brianthiem.com

Shallow Grave by Brian Thiem. Crooked Lane. 2017. ISBN 9781683311430 (hardcover), 336p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Paris All Your Own edited by Eleanor Brown

After Eleanor Brown researched her own book, The Light of Paris, she wondered why people love Paris so much. And, she was surprised to see how many female, heterosexual, white women, bestselling authors, had written about Paris. So, she went to seventeen other women writers from the United States, England, and Ireland, and asked them to write about their experiences in Paris. The result is a collection of essays, A Paris All Your Own.

Brown's question actually was, "Why do we love writing - and reading - stories about Paris?" Why are we obsessed with it? Each woman had a different answer. Some, like Brown, did not fall in love with the city. She saw it just as another city. Michelle Gable, author of A Paris Apartment and I'll See You in Paris, made the mistake of going with her parents, husband, and children. The family trip was a disaster. Her daughter's favorite part of the trip was the plane, and the family preferred London. M.J. Rose wrote of the romance of the city, as did Meg Waite Clayton. Clayton's essay, entitled "Thirty-Four Things You Should Know About Paris", is fun. She honeymooned in Paris, and admits they may have missed a few things. But, she makes suggestions.

One of my favorite essays was by Cara Black, but I'm prejudiced. I know Cara, and she's given me tips for my first trip to Paris. Cara's essay, "Investigating Paris", talks about her love of the city, the mystery of it as it links to the writing of mysteries and Georges Simenon's Inspector Maigret. But, she also says Paris will always be a mystery.

You'll recognize many of these authors - Paula McLain, Susan Vreeland, Lauren Willig. And, if you read the book, you'll realize you've seen many of the other names as well.

I appreciated the notes after each essay. Brown tells who the authors are, where to find their websites and other social media contacts, lists the Paris books. Then, each author lists their favorite Paris moment, their least favorite, the song that reminds them of Paris, and a suggestion. "In Paris, you must..." It's those suggestions, "In Paris, you must..." that I'm going to take with me to Paris. My conclusion? Paris is different for everyone, as is any city. And, in my opinion, every trip is special, if you make it so.

Eleanor Brown's website is www.eleanor-brown.com

A Paris All Your Own edited by Eleanor Brown. G.T. Putnam's Sons. 2017. ISBN 9780399574474 (paperback), 265p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy.




Saturday, July 15, 2017

Calamity at the Continental Club by Colleen J. Shogan

I never saw an amateur sleuth so eager to investigate a crime as Congressional staffer Kit Marshall. Colleen J. Shogan's Calamity at the Continental Club, the third Washington Whodunit, provides D.C.'s buildings for Kit's playground as she and her friends look for a killer.

Kit is a reluctant participant in the Mayflower Society's annual meeting at the Continental Club. She and her fiancé, Doug Hollingsworth, are guests of his upper-crust parents. While Doug's father loves history, and enjoys the talks and camaraderie, he's always hoped to be elected president of the society.  Doug's mother, Buffy, is hoping the luxurious club will become the setting for Kit and Doug's wedding, and she has wedding plans in mind. But, everything comes to a screeching halt when the current president, a multimedia tycoon, is murdered. And, Doug's father, Winston, appears to be the perfect suspect.

While Doug has always disapproved of Kit's tendency to get involved in murder investigations, this time he's as eager as she is. Together with a couple of her friends from the Congressional staff, the couple question suspects while touring Mount Vernon and the National Archives, and investigate poisons at the Smithsonian. Even so, it's their dog, Clarence, who finds the final piece in the puzzle. Who, besides Winston Hollingsworth, had the opportunity to kill Grayson Bancroft?

While the mystery itself was interesting, and I appreciated the information about the D.C. sites, I wasn't a fan of Kit Marshall. She and her friends were just too eager to butt into the murder investigation, before the police even had a chance. While others may appreciate the over-the-top amateur sleuth in Calamity at the Continental Club, she wasn't one of my favorite characters in a mystery.

Colleen J. Shogan's website is www.colleenshogan.com

Calamity at the Continental Club by Colleen J. Shogan. Camel Press. 2017. ISBN 9781603813358 (paperback), 256p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Friday, July 14, 2017

Winners and Give Me a D Giveaway

Congratulations to the winners of the last contest. Jennifer H. from Indianola, IA won Ten Dead Comedians. Edited Out by E.J. Copperman will go to Pat S. from Farmington, NM.

This week, I'm giving away ARCs by authors whose last name begins with D. Hannah Dennison's book is Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall. The only copy of Iris Stanford's new manuscript never arrives at her London publisher's office, and her daughter, Kat, investigates the tiny post office when it appears the package never left the building. Iris fears her secret identity as a bestselling romance writer will be discovered. However, the postmistress has her own problems after the death of her husband leaves her in debt. Past and present collide as Kat fights for her life and those she holds dear, dealing with the dark forces lurking behind Honeychurch Hall.



Alan Drew's Shadow Man is a character-driven novel of psychological suspense about a detective who finds himself face-to-face with a heartless killer in Southern California. At the same time, he has a mystery that takes him into shadows of his own past.

Which book would you like to win? You can enter to win both, but I need separate entries. Email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject heading should read either "Win Honeychurch Hall" or "Win Shadow Man." Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please. The giveaway will end Thursday, July 20 at 6 PM CT.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

What Are You Reading?

While I'm in the middle of reading for Library Journal right now, I did find the time to read a nonfiction picture book that I bought. It's so good that I'm planning to use it when/if I read to my class of third graders again this year. Suzi Eszterhas is a wildlife photographer who spent three years in Kenya. Her experiences there led to the book, Moto and Me: My Year as a Wildcat's Foster Mom. Park rangers rescued a two-week-old serval wildcat, and asked Eszterhas to foster it, raising him to be released back into the wild. The book is gorgeous, with lovely photographs of the growing servel.


What are you reading or listening to this week? I'm always interested!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry

Mimi, the bookseller at Title Wave, the bookstore in Watersend, South Carolina, welcomes readers to her bookstore, a place as magic as the river. The characters revolve around the bookstore, the beginning and end of the story, a place of secrets and answers in Patti Callahan Henry's The Bookshop at Water's End.

When Mimi welcomes Piper Blankenship to the book store, she recognizes a reader. She also recognizes her as the daughter of one of the two girls who called themselves the "Summer Sisters". Bonny Blankenship and Lainey McKay haven't been back to Watersend since the day Lainey's mother disappeared. The question of her whereabouts, whether she is alive or dead, has haunted Lainey and Bonny, in different ways. Despite her happy marriage and two children, Lainey still searches for her mother. The disappearance drove Lainey's brother, Owen, to live a life of adventure, never settling down. And, Bonny, who always loved Owen, is trapped in an unhappy marriage and still yearns for Owen.

It's Bonny who brings them back back to Watersend. As an ER doctor, she made a fatal mistake, and while she waits for the judgment that could change her life, she packs up her daughter, heads to Watersend, and begs Lainey to return. While Piper searches for answers to her troubled first year in college, Bonny and Lainey are desperately searching for answers. Lainey is still obsessed with her mother's disappearance. Bonny, who may be on the verge of losing everything she worked for, wants to know what her future will bring. It's Piper's actions that will culminate in answers, not necessarily the answers Bonny or Lainey expect.

Escape to The Bookshop at Water's End in this thoughtful, character-driven novel. Henry's story is about three women desperate for answers. Then, there are several wise women, who encourage them to appreciate the present, to appreciate the people in their life right now, and to find the way to forgive them. My favorite characters? Those wise women, the voices of the past who remind all of us to live in the present. Step into Mimi's bookstore, and the heart of the story.

Note: Henry sucks a reader into the bookstore and the setting of the book immediately, with these words on the first page. "It was a look I knew well. So glad to be in a cozy bookshop, in air-conditioned comfort, surrounded by stories, and to find that in the chaos of the world there was still a place like this. A place where books were piled to the ceiling and tables were crowded with the paraphernalia of reading: bookmarks, reading lights, stationery, pens and framed quotes to inspire."

Patti Callahan Henry's website is www.patticallahanhenry.com

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry. Berkley. 2017. ISBN 9780399583117 (paperback), 352p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy, hoping I would review it.













Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Murder in Mayfair by D.M. Quincy

Fans of Georgette Heyer's Regency romances or Charles Finch's Charles Lenox mysteries will want to try D.M. Quincy's debut historical mystery, Murder in Mayfair. The wit, clothing and setting brings Regency London to life in a mystery with satisfying twists.

"Had his mount not lost its shoe on the return journey to London after taking the waters in Bath, Atlas Catesby would not have been in a position to purchase another man's wife." Catesby, an adventurer stuck at home while recuperating from a broken foot, is appalled to see a man auctioning off his wife in the inn's yard. He hopes to save her by purchasing her, but Lilliana Warwick is not grateful. She's afraid her husband won't let her see her two young sons. Although Atlas deposits her at his sister Thea's home, Lilliana persists in sneaking off to see her boys. The final straw is when Godfrey Warwick expels Lilliana and fires the household staff that aided her. When Catesby storms into Warwick's haberdashery to confront him, he finds the man's body. The shrewd Bow Street Runner, Ambrose Endicott, who is called to the site, suspects either Catesby or Lilliana could have been involved in her husband's murder.

While Catesby finds the murder investigation intriguing, he's even more puzzled by the secret of Lilliana Warwick's past. Who is this educated woman of quality who seems of a higher class than her late husband? Atlas Catesby "couldn't trust Endicott to find the true killer, and he wouldn't leave his fate - or Mrs. Warwick's for that matter - in someone else's hands. He'd have to do it himself." Together with his best friend, Gabriel Young, the Earl of Charlton, Catesby hunts for answers.

It's exciting to discover an author who creates wonderful characters and places them in the perfect setting to enhance their style and wit. It's easy to fall for Atlas Catesby. Charlton is a delight, and not at all the man he appears to be at first. Catesby's sister, Thea, is a mathematician. Even the villains are just right in their roles. There's humor even in the midst of a murder investigation.

Why did D.M. Quincy set her book in this period? In her acknowledgements, she says "I wanted my protagonist, Atlas Catesby, to move in this world because it was a time of extremes: of elegance and extravagance, as well as crime and poverty." She is adept at depicting the clothing and style of Regency London without overwhelming the story.

Murder in Mayfair is the first Atlas Catesby mystery. I can't wait for his next adventure.

D.M. Quincy's website is http://www.dianaquincy.com/

Murder in Mayfair by D.M. Quincy. Crooked Lane. 2017. ISBN 9781683312253 (hardcover), 320p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.

Monday, July 10, 2017

If the Haunting Fits, Wear It by Rose Pressey

Rose Pressey's latest Haunted Vintage Mystery, If the Haunting Fits, Wear It, is as frothy as the artwork on the cover. Put together vintage clothing and several ghosts, and the reader heads off for Kentucky Derby Week with Cookie Chanel, the amateur sleuth.

Cookie, owner of a vintage clothing boutique in Georgia, has been asked to supply vintage hats and clothing advice to Danielle Elston during Kentucky Derby Week. She packs up two ghosts and her cat, who is actually her Grandma Pearl who slipped into a cat's body during a seance. Although the B&B seems a little odd, it's a place to stay and make multiple wardrobe changes during the week. First up, the Derby luncheon. But, that's where Cookie finds the body of Danielle's jockey. Now, he wants her to find his killer. It's not easy to hunt for a murderer while trailed by three ghosts.

Cookie spends a great deal of time finding the proper outfit for each excursion, including searching for clues in the horse paddocks. The ghosts are a little help, though, warning her about the black truck that follows her, and keeping an eye out while Cookie snoops.But, their constant chattering is distracting, and leads her two suitors to wonder about her conversations.

Pressey's fifth book in the series has every trope of a cozy mystery. The amateur sleuth takes too many risks, tries to hide clues, and keeps information to herself. Even when she admits she's out of her element, she's proud of herself. There are ghosts and a cat that is possessed. Cookie is stringing along two men. Readers who enjoy vintage fashion may enjoy that aspect of the story. I just found If the Haunting Fits, Wear It to be a little over the top.

Rose Pressey's website is www.rosepressey.com

If the Haunting Fits, Wear It by Rose Pressey. Kensington. 2017. ISBN 9781496705556 (paperback), 304p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Sunday, July 09, 2017

Murder at the Male Revue by Elizabeth Perona

I always seem to pick up a mystery series with the third book, but I always recommend readers start with the first one. The latest Bucket List mystery,Murder at the Male Revue, by Elizabeth Perona, is a fun book with a serious backstory.

The septuagenarian members of the Brownsburg, Indiana Summer Ridge Bridge Club all have bucket lists. Joy McQueen's list includes "Go to a Male Strip Club". Joy, a reporter for the Indianapolis ABC affiliate, is now the announcer for the male revue fundraiser for the town's park department. But, she panics at the thought of the men stripping, and she disappears just in time to find the town council president dying after she was stabbed. Now, the women have a new goal, to find the reasons why someone would want her dead.

Francine McNamara and her friend, Charlotte, are on the case. They can't hide their eagerness to find a killer from Jud, the local police detective. He warns them not to meddle, but Francine and Charlotte look for answers everywhere from the victim's home to a private cemetery to the American Legion. And, each time, they're either caught or end up in another disaster involving food and a stripper. Not quite what anyone would expect of amateur sleuths in their seventies.

Charlotte and Francine are fun and funny as Charlotte pushes Francine into the case. Charlotte is the comic relief, a short woman who enjoys the male strippers, bingo, and a little too much to drink. But, she's also a mystery reader, an astute observer, and recognizes the truth behind the murder. Despite the funny scenes involving strippers, the women take murder seriously. Murder at the Male Revue is fun, with a group of active seniors who challenge perceptions.

Elizabeth Perona's website is www.ElizabethPerona.com

Murder at the Male Revue by Elizabeth Perona. Midnight Ink. 2017. ISBN 9780738750644 (paperback), 312p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Saturday, July 08, 2017

Penhale Wood by Julia Thomas

Right up front, I'll remind you that I usually don't read "women and children in jeopardy" novels.This is going to sound strange and maybe a little cold, but I read and enjoyed Penhale Wood by Julia Thomas. It wasn't about a child in jeopardy because Sophie Flynn died a year before this book begins.

It's Christmastime, and Detective Chief Inspector Robert McIntyre took the train from his Cornwall home to London to be with his brother's family. But, he's not in the mood to celebrate. His girlfriend, Alison Kendall had moved out. Now, she's a bestselling author, known all over England. He's gloomy and despondent, but he realizes he could be worse. He could be Iris Flynn, who shows up on his brother's doorstep. A year earlier, Iris' three-year-old, Sophie, was kidnapped by her nanny, and found murdered, left at the edge of Penhale Wood. Now, Iris has flown back from Australia, and wants McIntyre, the investigating officer, to reopen the case. She's there because she's shattered. She can't go on until there's justice for her murdered daughter.

McIntyre knows he can't comprehend the depth of a mother's grief. There has been one recent break in the case, but he had refused to deal with it. Now, with Iris demanding answers, he agrees to see a psychic who says she saw the killer and an unusual cat of some sort. Although the psychic's sketch doesn't resemble the missing nanny, that drawing and a photo precipitate events that break the case open, with tragic results.

Thomas' second novel, following The English Boys, is a powerful character study. Thomas scrutinizes McIntyre, Iris Flynn, and Alison Kendall, allowing the reader to have access to their thoughts and feelings. The characters' actions are the results of their daily lives, which makes Penhale Wood all the more striking, leaving readers with a great deal to ponder.

Penhale Wood by Julia Thomas. Midnight Ink. 2017. ISBN 9780738752501 (paperback), 312p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.


Friday, July 07, 2017

Winners and a Giveaway with Humor

Congratulations to the winners of the last contest. John B. from Grass Valley, CA will receive The Devil's Triangle. Barbara T. of Moreno Valley, CA won Jill Orr's The Good Byline. The books are going out in the mail today.

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Fred Van Lente's Ten Dead Comedians just after it's released on July 11. the book will be coming from the publisher, so it's receiving a longer description. As the story opens, nine comedians of various acclaim are summoned to the island retreat of legendary Hollywood funnyman Dustin Walker. The group includes a former late-night TV host, a washed-up improv instructor, a ridiculously wealthy “blue collar” comic, and a past-her-prime Vegas icon. All nine arrive via boat to find that every building on the island is completely deserted. Marooned without cell phone service or wifi signals, they soon find themselves being murdered one by one. But who is doing the killing, and why?

A darkly clever take on Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None and other classics of the genre, Ten Dead Comedians is a marvel of literary ventriloquism, with hilarious comic monologues in the voice of every suspect. It’s also an ingeniously plotted puzzler with a twist you’ll never see coming!

FRED VAN LENTE is the #1 New York Times best-selling writer of the comics Odd Is on Our SideArcher & Armstrong, and Action Philosophers! He also co-wrote the graphic novel Cowboys and Aliens, which was made into a film starring Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig.
*******
The other humorous mystery I'm giving away is an ARC of E. J. Copperman's Edited Out. Mystery author Rachel Goldman and the real-life incarnation of her title character Duffy Madison team up in a case that brings them closer to Duffy's unknown past in this entertaining story.

Which book would you like to win? You can enter both giveaways, but I need separate entries. Send the email to Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject heading should read either "Win Ten Dead Comedians" or "Win Edited Out." Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Because of my schedule next week, this contest will end Wed., June 12 at 5 PM CT.



Thursday, July 06, 2017

What Are You Reading?



Charlotte told me I don't disappoint my followers. I did today when I forgot to write the post, What Are You Reading. Probably because I'm reading a book for review, and still finishing up the book of essays about Paris. Or, maybe because a Tuesday holiday has thrown me completely off schedule.

So, I've probably already missed Jeff and the earliest posters. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo

I've never been disappointed in one of Linda Castillo's Kate Burkholder crime novels. And, even better for Police Chief Burkholder, her small police force has never disappointed. Down a Dark Road is another riveting story in an outstanding series.


When Joseph King escapes from Mansfield Correctional Institution in Ohio, Kate doesn't really think he'll end up back in Painters Mill. Her childhood friend was convicted two years earlier of killing his wife, with his five children in the house. But, King does turn up, catching Burkholder by surprise. But, he has more surprises for her. He insists he didn't kill his wife, and one of his children has her own story to tell about the night of the murder. He admits he wasn't the best Amish husband, but he knows Kate will at least listen to his story. He only asks Kate to search for the truth.

Joseph's request leaves Kate tormented by dreams of the past. He also leaves her in a difficult situation, on forced inactivity from her department. But, that gives her the time to ask questions, to search for the truth behind Joseph's claim. And, she discovers more than she expects, including hints that Joseph may not have killed his wife. "It's the lingering sense of injustice that grates on my cop's sensibilities."

I can't reveal more about Down a Dark Road without giving too much away. So, I've concentrated on Kate's feelings, and the respect her small team shows her in the course of this compelling story. She admits she's flawed, but she also knows she's a good cop, a good chief, and she has the respect of her entire team. And, Kate and the Painters Mill police department will pursue justice.

For those who have followed the series, John Tomasetti, an agent with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the man who loves Kate, is in the book. He is supportive of Kate, in all respects. But, this is her story, a story of her past, her childhood, and experiences that still linger in her memory. Down a Dark Road is a complicated, compelling story of what can go wrong.

Linda Castillo's website is www.lindacastillo.com

Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo. Minotaur Books. 2017. ISBN 9781250121288 (hardcover), 304p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy, hoping I would review it.


Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Have You Heard? - Cat Raise the Dead by Shirley Rousseau Murphy

Thanks to Sandie Herron for the review of Shirley Rousseau Murphy's audiobook Cat Raise the Dead.

Cat Raise the Dead: A Joe Grey Mystery (#3)Cat Raise the Dead
Joe Grey Mystery Book 3
Written by Shirley Rousseau Murphy, Narrated by Susan Boyce
Unabridged Audiobook, Listening Length: 9 hours and 8 minutes
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Audible.com Release Date: January 23, 2013
ASIN: B00B4Y41WO

Winner of the Cat Writers' Association's 1998 Muse Medallion and President's Best-of-the-Best Awards!

In Shirley Rousseau Murphy’s third Joe Grey and Dulcie book, we find our human friends Wilma still happy at the library, Clyde fixing cars.  Wilma’s niece Charlie has been evicted and is overflowing with work for her fix it/clean it business with not enough employees to do the jobs, making her day longer and longer.  

They are also watching their felines, Joe Grey, owned by bachelor Clyde Damon, and Dulcie, owned by Wilma Getz, beginning to follow a new investigation.  The new skills of speech and sentience they acquired not even a year before enables them to participate in various crime investigations without revealing themselves.  We are privy to their private conversations and suppositions regarding a plain, old woman who is successfully cat-burgling a variety of homes, most times when the owners are home.  We hear the burglar’s thoughts that she doesn’t need the items she steals nor the money she gets fencing the items; she does it all for the thrill.  She’s already burgled towns south, so who is she?

Joe is tracking the cat burglar when Clyde brings up his participation in the Pet-a-Pet program at the local senior home.  Two afternoons a week a dozen or so pets gather with their owners and provide some pet therapy for residents of Casa Capri.  After much disagreement, Clyde finds out that it is Dulcie and Wilma who already participate that push Joe to join them.  At the first visit a very young teenager named Dillon brings up her attempts to visit her friend Jane who was a resident in the home but then apparently had a stroke which necessitated her move to the medical wing where no visitors are allowed.  However, with no family, Dillon says she should be allowed to visit or at least to have a letter delivered.  The answer was always no.

Then one day an obscure cousin of Jane’s is in town and wants to visit.  The nurses bring belongings and quilts and things you’d find in a typical room into the room Jane used to live in but which has remained empty.  Best foot forward in the appearances to the families.  During this visit, Dillon is at Casa Capri and sees a laptop writing desk put into “Jane’s” closet.  Dillon recognizes that and sneaks into the room when they remove the patient (is it even Jane?) to take back to the medical wing.  Inside the desk Dillon finds a doll which Jane had made.  She takes the doll and then gives it to another resident who is also asking about Jane.  They could feel a lump under the doll’s dress which is a ragged line of stitching, not Jane’s beautiful work.  Inside the doll under those sloppy stitches is a note from Jane to her friend confirming their fears; Jane had been moved against her will and essentially held prisoner in the medical wing.

A local dog shows up at his home with a human finger that came from an historic grave in the Spanish Cemetery next to Casa Capri.  This evidence hits Max Harper’s desk when the local paper runs a story on the cat burglar and how she had stolen from 15 homes yet remains free.  Wilma and Dillon visit Captain Harper with the news about Jane, the doll, and the letter.  Max becomes suspicious of them all especially since they were all so physically close.


Narrator Susan Boyce does a great job of reading this book.  She brings the emotions off the page; i.e., Dillon’s worry over her friend Jane is strong and evident.  She adds an urgency to find Jane and other missing patients, especially with the finger that was dug up so nearby.  My jaw fell open when we learned who the cat burglar was.  I cheered when the culprits were caught.  Hearing the events take place helps to add to the emotions on the pages and make them more palpable.

Monday, July 03, 2017

The Lies We Tell by Theresa Schwegel

Because I'm reviewing mysteries for Library Journal, I'm picking up books that I wouldn't normally read. That means I'm discovering authors and books that others read but I've passed on because I was more interested in other books. Theresa Schwegel's standalone, The Lies We Tell, is one that I normally wouldn't have picked up, despite my love of police procedurals.

Gina Simonetti is a Chicago police detective with a secret. If she reveals she has been diagnosed with multiple schlerosis, it will jeopardize her job, her insurance, and her custody of her brother's toddler, Isabel. But, when she follows Johnny Marble, a suspect, into a hospital stairwell, her weakness betrays her. She makes a misstep, loses physical control of her body, and Marble overpowers her and takes her gun. Now, she's even more desperate. There's a man out there who could tell the truth as to what happened in that stairwell. She has to find him before someone else on the police force does.

Gina's frantic search takes her to family members and others who claim to have been assaulted by Marble. But, Marble's mother is an unreliable witness, a woman suffering from Alzheimer's. And, a detective sympathetic to her need for answers discovers other claims don't ring true. The complex story takes Gina Simonetti back to the one place she doesn't want to be, the hospital.

Who is telling the truth in Schwegel's novel? It's obvious that Gina is lying to everyone around her, her brother, Isabel's sitter, the police department. It's a convoluted story with so many messed up characters. But, I'd suggest that fans of Karin Slaughter try Schwegel's The Lies We Tell.

Theresa Schwegel's website is www.theresaschwegel.com

The Lies We Tell by Theresa Schwegel. Minotaur Books. 2017. ISBN 9781250001788 (hardcover), 368p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.




Sunday, July 02, 2017

August Treasures in My Closet - Part 2

Did I mention that Louise Penny's Glass Houses comes out on August 29? A mysterious figure appears in Three Pines, and Chief Inspector Gamache knows something is wrong. However, because no laws are being broken, he does nothing. There's an uneasy atmosphere in the town, though. Soon after  the figure disappears, a body is found. After the investigation, a trial begins, and Gamache knows there will be a reckoning. In the end, Gamache knows he'll have to face his conscience.


Pieces of Happiness is Norwegian author Anne Ostby's debut in the United States. When four friends in their sixties receive letters in the mail, their answer is yes. Their old high school friend, Kat, the adventurer who ran off to the South Pacific, invites them to live on her cocoa farm in Fiji. They not only start a chocolate business, but strengthen their friendship and rediscover themselves. (Release date is Aug. 1.)






A Promise of Ruin, the second mystery in Cuyler Overholt's series featuring Dr. Genevieve Summerford follows the young psychiatrist while she investigates the disappearance of a young Italian woman. (Release date is Aug. 8.)








T. Jefferson Parker introduces Roland Ford in The Room of White Fire. P.I. Roland Ford is good at finding people, but when he's hired to locate Air Force veteran Clay Hickman, he knows there's something dark about his assignment. The young man, shattered by war, is on the run from a mental institution. And, Ford gets a different story from everyone involved. (Release date is Aug. 22.)







In the first Chuck Restic mystery by Adam Walker Phillips, The Silent Second, Chuck, a successful HR manager in LA, puts his specialized skills set to the test. He moonlights as a private detective. (Release date is Aug. 15.)









Someone is spying on American author Helen Hancock, and she turns to the US Embassy and Hugo Marston in Mark Pryor's The Sorbonne Affair. While in Paris to conduct research and teach a small class of writers, she discovers a spy camera hidden in her room at the Sorbonne Hotel. But, it isn't long before the case turns into murder. (Release date is Aug. 22.)







Natasha Pulley, author of The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, now brings us The Bedlam Stacks. It's a treacherous quest in the magical landscape of nineteenth century Peru, where one man has to separate fact from fairy tale. (Release date is Aug. 1.)








Erika Raskin's Best Intentions takes Marti Trailer, a mother, daughter of a congressman, and wife to a
successful obstetrician, back into the work force. But, in her job as a hospital social worker, she witnesses something she can't unsee, and does the "right thing". But, Marti goes from stay-at-home mom to murder trial defendant in this domestic mystery. (Release date is Aug. 15.)







Leona: The Die is Cast by Jenny Rogneby was a bestseller in Scandinavia. The thriller follows Leona Lindberg of Stockholm's Violent Crime Division as she investigates a high-profile robbery. But, Leona herself has issues - a gambling addiction and a troubled marriage - that could impact her investigation. (Release date is Aug. 1.)





In Augustus Rose's debut, The Readymade Thief, he pits a seventeen-year-old against the powerful men who pull the strings in society. After she took the fall for a rich friend, Lee Cuddy takes refuge in the Crystal Palace, a cooperative of runaway kids in Philadelphia. But homeless kids are disappearing from the streets in suspicious numbers, and Lee discovers the charitable cooperative is too good to be true. (Release date is Aug. 1.)






Sometimes true life is more intriguing than fiction. Take Tom Sanction's The Bettencourt Affair. Was the world's wealthiest woman the victim of a con man or her own family members. This is the true story of the scandal that rocked Paris. (Release date is Aug. 8.)








The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Acton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Polis Department, reeling as much as others in the Twin Cities. But that's just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree in Gerry Schmitt's Shadow Girl. (Release date is Aug. 1.)








Jonathan Skariton's debut novel, Seance Infernale, is set in contemporary and nineteenth-century Europe, the United States, and Scotland. It involves the inventor of moving pictures, his lost film, Seance Infernale, made in Edinburgh in 1888, and a shocking series of crimes terrorizing that city in present time. (Release date is Aug. 29.)







In Triss Stein's latest Erica Donato mystery, Brooklyn Wars, the historian discovers a body in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and sets out to track down the man's history, a history that is linked to her own family. (Release date is Aug. 1.)








Military veterans, local heroes, and first responders are targeted in David Thurlo's Kill the Heroes. Charlie Henry, co-owner of a pawn shop and Iraq war veteran, is invited to attend the dedication of a memorial in a park in Albuquerque. But, shots ring out, missing Charlie and hitting the veteran next to hi. Charlie vows to find the person who would attack American heroes. (Release date is Aug. 29.)






The Hidden Light of Northern Fires is Daren Wang's debut novel. It's rooted in the remarkable true history of the only secessionist town north of the Mason-Dixon Line. It's the story of an outspoken abolitionist who finds herself drawn to a fugitive in forbidden ways, as she helps him on the dangerous path to freedom. (Release date is Aug. 29.)







Leah Weiss' debut novel,  If the Creek Don't Rise, was one of the most talked about books at Book Expo. Baines Creek is a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands - and not much else. And Sadie Blue is only the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. She's only been married for fifteen days, and she already knows she made a mistake. But then a stranger sweeps into town, and Sadie starts to think there might be more to life than being Roy's wife. (Release date is Aug. 22.)





The Clockwork Dynasty is a "thriller that weaves a path through history, following a race of humanlike machines that have been hiding among us for untold centuries." It's written by Daniel H. Wilson, bestselling author of Robopocalypse. (Release date is Aug. 1.)








Gabrielle Zevin, author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, takes on slut-shaming in her novel Young Jane Young. It follows three generations of women, and captures the mood the highly charged political arena, and also the double standards in every aspect of a woman's life. An ambitious young congressional intern makes the mistake of having an affair and blogging about it. The congressman doesn't take the fall. Aviva does, and, years later, after moving and changing her life, her past catches up with her. (Release date is Aug. 22.)




Here's the list of books I didn't summarize.

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore
New People by Danzy Senna
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
The Lauras by Sara Taylor
The End of the World Running Club by Adrian J. Walker
Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang

So, besides Louise Penny's Glass Houses, what books jump out at you for August?