Book Reviews: Messages by Weyman Jones, Angel Lost by F. M. Meredith and Hell To Pay by Wendy Corsi Staub

Messages
Weyman Jones
Five Star Publishing, 2010
ISBN No. 978-1-59414-879-8
Hardcover

Mike Lyons cannot believe that his mother is guilty of murder but a jury says she killed her lover, Alex Reed.  He is so convinced that he decides that he will prove her innocence.  Mike’s mother owned a company called Power Meetings.   Alex worked for the company and traveled giving inspirational speeches to various groups.

Mike contacts his father who he has not communicated with for several years.   His conversations with his father reveal a side of his mother that comes as a surprise to Mike.  Mike knew that his mother had contacted his father when she arrived at her home and discovered the body of Alex Reed.   His father told her to call the police immediately but she didn’t do that and now she has been convicted of murder.

An animal rights group had threatened Mike’s mother and Mike feels sure that this group had something to do with the murder of Alex Reed.  Mike makes a decision to travel to the Caribbean resort, the last place Alex Reed was seen alive.

Messages has a number of strong characters and a lot of excitement.  The story is somewhat confusing at times but all becomes clear in the exciting conclusion.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, October 2011.

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Angel Lost
F. M. Meredith
Dark Oak Mysteries, February 2011
ISBN No. 978-1610090056
Trade Paperback

The small town of Rocky Bluff in Ventura County is abuzz with excitement.  An angel is sighted in the window of a downtown store.  Residents gather to view the angel and give their opinion as to the reason the angel has appeared.  Most agree that it is a miracle but no one knows how the angel happened to appear.

There’s also a lot of excitement regarding the forthcoming marriage of Officer Stacey Wilbur and Detective Doug Milligan of the Rocky Bluff Police Department.  The wedding has been planned down to the smallest detail with Stacey’s family and friends all pitching in to make Stacey’s wedding a day to remember.

Abel Navarro, Stacey and Doug’s fellow worker, has a lot on his mind.  Abel’s mother is beginning to show signs of Alzheimer’s.  The new addition to the Rocky Bluff Police Department, Vaughn Aragon, a transfer from Los Angeles, is having  second thoughts about requesting the transfer to Rocky Bluff.  Vaughn is haunted by a shooting that happened in Los Angeles but is not comfortable enough to share his experience with his fellow officers.

However, there is more going on than the angel miracle and the personal happenings of the officers in the close knit community.  The department has received several complaints about an early morning jogger who is flashing women on the beach.  When Stacy takes on the job of attempting to catch the jogger, she runs into more trouble than she ever expected.

This is the seventh book in the Rocky Bluff series.  The book can be read as a stand-alone.  Many of the characters have been highlighted in previous books in the series and readers will be glad to see their return.  Although a lot of the book dwells on happy events, there is plenty of crime going on in Rocky Bluff to keep the readers glued to the book.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, March 2011.

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Hell To Pay
Wendy Corsi Staub
Avon Books, September 2011
ISBN No. 978-0061895081
Mass Market Paperback

Jeremy Cavalon and Lucy Walsh Cavalon are happily married and expecting their first baby.  This should be a happy time for the couple whose past has brought much happiness to both the Cavalon and the Walsh families.  Someone from the couple’s past has plans for the new baby.  Jeremy and Lucy would be horrified if they had any hint of what was in store in the weeks ahead.

Jeremy’s grandmother, Sylvie Durand, recently passed away.  Sylvie’s body was discovered in the bathtub in her lavish apartment at The Ansonia in New York City.  It appeared that Sylvie just passed away while bathing.  There were no clues to lead anyone to believe that her death was actually a murder.

Jeremy and Lucy received an eviction notice and suddenly had to find a new place to live.  The eviction notice was unexpected and Christmas was just around the corner.   The couple decided to move into Sylvie’s vacant apartment.  There was no way of the couple knowing that the eviction had been carefully planned by someone who needed the couple in Sylvie’s apartment  and cameras had been set up in Sylvie’s apartment so that every move the couple made could be documented.

The person from the couple’s past is believed to be dead but that is far from the truth.   Not only is their stalker alive but also a mental case that feels God is giving directions and the stalker is merely doing God’s will.

This book is terrifying and the suspense builds to a dramatic climax.  The Walsh and Cavalon families were first introduced in Live To Tell.  Their story continued in Scared to Death.  If you haven’t read the first two books, the author gives enough background that Hell To Pay is an enjoyable read.  I’ve read all three books and can recommend the series as an exciting one with many surprises.

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, October 2011.