Author: Rachael Huszar
Narrator: Jenn Lee
Length: 5 hours and 31 minutes
Producer: Audiobook Empire
Publisher: Rachael Huszar
Released: January 20, 2022
Genre: Historical Thriller
A Fight for Full Disclosure
Stanley M. Berry
Moonshine Cove Publishing, September 2021
In this merger of medical and legal fiction, a well-liked and healthy woman undergoes a routine surgery and unexpectedly dies. Was the surgeon negligent? Did the hospital miss some critical information? Department Chair Harold Thompson investigates, in hope of getting answers to why the woman died.
The author overexplains medical devices and procedures, and spends time on physical details and actions that don’t move the story forward. The ending is disappointing and leaves the reader dissatisfied. The author is a medical doctor, a special in Maternal-Fetal medicine. This is his first novel.
He probably has many interesting stories from his years in medical practices but this isn’t one of them.
Reviewed by Susan Belsky, March 2022.
Miss Dirt Turtle’s Garden Club
Illustrated by Hector Mexia
Headline Books, November 2021
The last day of elementary school was certainly celebratory for five best buds who had gone through every single grade together. The summer stretched out before them, packed with possibilities. Admittedly, growing a garden with the elderly Black lady the neighborhood kids dubbed “Dirt Turtle” hadn’t made the quintet’s to-do list.
When the motley crew of mean kids spotted the students standing outside of Dirt Turtle’s yard, the friends scattered. Except for Chatter. Fixated on the woman working the soil, he slipped through the gate in the chain-link-fence.
Silently, he watched. Mum, she worked on. Chatter soon joined in, mimicking her movements.
His pals returned, stunned at the sight. They immediately began teasing him. Unflappable, Chatter continued until each of his friends, excepting Marty, had joined him in the yard. For the four friends, there was something soothing and satisfying in the work and they asked if they could come back.
The jubilant mood dampened, though, when report cards were received. One of them would not be making the move to Middle School without passing English over the summer. The first hurdle Marty would need to clear this summer was definitely dismal. Particularly since he didn’t read well. Having a police officer and a social services worker show up to take his mom to rehab was downright discouraging.
Turns out, tending the plot, alongside Miss Dirt Turtle, brought out the best in everyone. Like the seeds they planted and nurtured, the children grew and blossomed, individually as well as a united, take-on-the-town, team.
I wish I could add Miss Dirt Turtle’s Garden Club to every Elementary School Library. The authentically diverse cast of characters captured my heart as they morphed from wise-cracking kids to a caring and inspired group of go-getters. The illustrations accompanying the narrative are absolutely awesome and aptly convey the kids’ emotions, in a slightly exaggerated, comical kind of way, making this treasured tome the total package.
This review was written by jv poore for Buried Under Books,
with huge thanks to the author for providing copy to donate to
my favorite Elementary school classroom library.
Reviewed by jv poore, August 2021.
From the author—
A wealthy banker with a long list of secrets dies.
The bizarre crime scene stumps the local police…
… but a young doctor could be the key to solving the case.
Internist Julia Fairchild encounters banker Jay moments too late – the poor man is near death in his own dining room. At first no one can figure out what killed him, but the coroner soon confirms that it was homicide: Jay died of methanol poisoning, and now a murderer is on the loose. Julia knows how to catch a killer and she can cut through the noise like a scalpel through skin. She agrees to help the understaffed police force solve the case, but each clue only complicates her investigation further.
Can Julia dissect the deadly riddle and nail the perp, or will this be the first time a monster succeeds in giving her the slip?
If you love Louise Penny, Kelly Oliver, and PC James, you need this medical mystery! Find out why fans say, “I love the character Julia Fairchild!”
To my way of thinking, it’s not easy to write a medical-focused mystery without a sense of it being a thriller or suspense and I don’t really agree with the “cozy” label on One Will Too Many. It’s also not especially thriller-ish but I think it fits nicely into the “traditional” category; the amateur sleuth is not just accidentally part of the plot and has some validity to her investigating as well as being welcomed by law enforcement.
Having said that, labels don’t really matter all that much when the difference is so thin and the whodunit here is nicely offered with characters who are particularly well-fleshed out. Julia is, of course, quite good at sussing out potential clues as you might expect in a doctor and she works well with her nephew on the police force. Learning that the wealthy victim, Jay, had a lot of secrets and that his will is likely to be a hefty motive, Julia soon leads the reader down a variety of paths and I admit to being diverted more than once. In a side storyarc, Julia has a new-ish romantic interest, maybe even more than one, but that doesn’t intrude too much on the core investigation.
Ms. Peterson does a fine job of creating tension and her pacing is quite good, always leaving me wanting to keep going to the next page and the next. This was my introduction to the Julia Fairchild series and, while I didn’t feel a lack in not having read the first three books, I’m eager to catch up now.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2022.
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PJ is a retired internist who enjoyed the diagnostic part of practicing medicine as well as creating long-lasting relationships with her patients. As a child she wanted to be a doctor so she could “help people.” She now volunteers at the local Free Medical Clinic to satisfy that need to help. She loved to read from a young age and read all the Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew books she could find. It wasn’t until she was an adult that she wrote anything longer than short stories for English classes and term papers in others. Writing mysteries only makes sense given her early exposure to that genre. Sprinkling in a little medical mystique makes it all the more fun.
Caramel Pecan Roll Murder
A Hannah Swensen Mystery #28
Kensington Books, February 2022
Caramel Pecan Roll Murder is the latest book in Joanne Fluke’s series featuring baker Hannah Swensen, owner of The Cookie Jar bakery. It begins when Hannah is asked to help out Sally Laughlin owner, together with her husband Dick, of the Lake Eden Inn. Sally is desperate for help because a fishing tournament is about to be held at the Inn with the fishermen staying there and having all their meals there. Unfortunately, Sally’s dessert chef isn’t available for the week of the tournament due to a family emergency and Sally wants Hannah to stay at the Inn for the week of the tournament and take over the baking which Hannah agrees to do with the help of her sister Andrea.
The tournament is in full swing and is going well except for the behavior of the fishing pro, Sonny Bowman, the star of the tournament sponsor’s televised fishing show. Sonny it seems drinks far too much and has a habit of hitting on the women present, most of whom are wives of the fishermen, which does not go over well with their husbands.
Sonny’s behavior aside, the tournament is going well until a dead body turns up. Of course, Mike and Lonnie, the police department’s detectives are investigating but, no surprise to regular readers of this series, Hannah, an amateur sleuth, also begins her investigation. One thing readers can always count on is that Hannah will get involved in murder investigations, aided and abetted by her family and friends! In fact, one of the things I find amusing about this series is how she gets involved in the investigations on the thinnest possible pretext!
I liked this book. It’s filled with several of the usual characters and while the solution to the murder makes sense, it isn’t glaringly obvious. I also liked the recipes which, as usual, I am sure I will make someday – but probably won’t. I recommend this book. It is a fun read and a worthy addition to the series.
Reviewed by Melinda Drew, February 2022.
A late-night call is all it takes for rookie lawyer Corrie Locke to kiss her day job at the movie studio goodbye, and do what she does best: flex her sweet P.I. skills and go undercover to find a senior who’s missing from a posh retirement community. One small stumbling block: skirting past security to gain inside access to the exclusive Villa Sunset. Time to call in the heavy artillery. Besides former security guard turned legal assistant—now wannabe P.I. –Veera, Corrie relies on a secret weapon: her mother, a surprisingly eager addition to Corrie’s team. Armed with enough attitude and pepper spray to take down a band of Navy Seals, Mom impersonates a senior to infiltrate the Villa, Corrie and Veera in tow. Turns out the job’s not as easy as they’d thought. These seniors have tricks tucked up their sleeves and aren’t afraid of using them.
The action gets dicey as the missing senior case turns into attempted murder by a criminal mind who’s always one step ahead. Corrie’s hot on the trail, but finds more than she bargained for…especially when her mother becomes a target.
When I first started reading this book, something kept niggling at me, sounding familiar. After rummaging around a bit, I discovered that I wasn’t imagining things and had actually read and reviewed the first book in the series back in 2015. I had really enjoyed it so why haven’t I kept up with the series in the past few days years? The only excuse I can come up with is that I just lost track of it.
Lida Sideris’ first stint after law school was a newbie lawyer’s dream: working as an entertainment attorney for a movie studio…kind of like her heroine, Corrie Locke, except without the homicides. Lida was one of two national winners of the Helen McCloy Mystery Writers of America Scholarship Award and a Silver Falchion Award Finalist. She lives in the northern tip of Southern California with her family, rescue dogs and a flock of uppity chickens.
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A Victoria Emerson Thriller Book 2
by John Gilstrap
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
From the publisher—
John Gilstrap, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Jonathan Grave novels, continues his acclaimed Victoria Emerson thriller series with Blue Fire. In the wake of a global conflict that has devastated America, one woman must lead—and protect—a community of survivors determined to rebuild all they have lost . . .
They call it Hell Day—a world war that lasted less than twenty-four hours. Nations unleashed weapons that destroyed more than a century’s worth of technology. Electrical grids cannot generate power. Communications and computers cannot run. And the remnants of the U. S. government cannot be depended upon. Those who survived must live as their ancestors did, off a land ruled by the whims of nature.
One-time congressional representative Victoria Emerson has become the new leader of the small town of Ortho, West Virginia. She has been struggling to provide food and shelter for the town’s inhabitants, while coping with desperate refugees. An autumn morning’s calm is shattered when her teenage son sounds the alarm with the cry “Blue Fire”—the code phrase for imminent danger.
A band of National Guardsmen intends to take Ortho and its resources for themselves. They have enough soldiers and firepower to eliminate anyone who dares to stop them. But Victoria swore an oath to defend and protect her people, and she isn’t about to surrender. It’s time to tap into the traditional American values of courage, ingenuity, and determination – and fight fire with fire.
Brad Taylor meets The Stand in a riveting novel of suspense kicking off a brand new series perfect for fans of the page-turning novels of A.G. Riddle, Mark Greaney, and Matthew Mather.
“One of the most singular and compelling heroines to come along in years.”—Jeffery Deaver, New York Times bestselling author
“Snaps with action from the very first page.”—Marc Cameron, New York Times bestselling author of Stone Cross and of Tom Clancy’s Code of Honor
From John Gilstrap, the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Jonathan Grave novels, comes Crimson Phoenix—first in the new Victoria Emerson Thriller series. With America brought to the brink of destruction, one woman becomes the last hope of a nation and its people . . .
Victoria Emerson is a congressional member of the U. S. House of Representatives for the state of West Virginia. Her aspirations have always been to help her community and to avoid the ambitious power plays of her peers in Washington D. C. Then Major Joseph McCrea appears on her doorstep and uses the code phrase Crimson Phoenix, meaning this is not a drill. The United States is on the verge of nuclear war. Victoria must accompany McCrea to a secure bunker. She cannot bring her family.
A single mother, Victoria refuses to abandon her three teenage sons. Denied entry to the bunker, they nonetheless survive the nuclear onslaught that devastates the country. The land is nearly uninhabitable. Electronics have been rendered useless. Food is scarce. Millions of scared and ailing people await aid from a government that is unable to regroup, much less organize a rescue from the chaos.
Victoria devotes herself to reestablishing order—only to encounter the harsh realities required of a leader dealing with desperate people . . .
“Just the thing for readers who feel oppressed by the pandemic lockdown.”
“A gripping page-turner.”
—Taylor Stevens, New York Times bestselling author
“An explosive story that keeps your mind churning and pulse racing . . .
Don’t miss this powerful new series from a master thriller writer.”
—Jamie Freveletti, international bestselling and award-winning author
John Gilstrap is the New York Times bestselling author of award-winning action novels including the Jonathan Grave Thrillers and the Victoria Emerson Thrillers. A master of action-driven suspense, his books have been translated into more than 20 languages. He is the recipient of an International Thriller Writers’ Award for Against All Enemies, the ALA Alex Award for Nathan’s Run, and a two-time ITW Award finalist. A nationally recognized weaponry and explosives safety expert as well as a National Shooting Sports Foundation member, John Gilstrap frequently speaks at conferences, events, clubs, youth programs, and military bases. He is a former firefighter and EMT with a master’s degree in safety from the University of Southern California and a bachelor’s degree in history from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. John lives in Fairfax, Virginia.