A Passel of Teeny Reviews Part 1

Once again, big surprise, I find myself with
an overload of books read but not yet reviewed
so I think it’s time for a roundup or two.

Don’t Get Mad, Get Even
Colin Goodwin
2QT Limited, July 2015
ISBN 978-1-910077-60-3
Trade Paperback

This book had me chuckling quite a bit with its premise—blackmailing an English village’s cricket club to either win  a trophy or lose its playing ground. Along with this audacious crime, we have village ladies who truly appreciate the hired ringer’s skills and a shady real estate development plan. It’s all great fun even with sabotage and perhaps a little murder.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2017.

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Cat in an Alphabet Endgame
The Midnight Louie Mysteries #28
Carole Nelson Douglas
Wishlist Publishing, August 2016
ISBN 978-1-943175-05-5
Trade Paperback

I confess, I put off reading this as long as I possibly could, so long I’m really embarrassed but I just did NOT want to see the end of this series I love so much. I didn’t want to know who Temple would marry, didn’t want all the little loose ends tied up in neat bows. Midnight Louie is the alpha and omega of feline sleuths and I adore his hardboiled, attitudinous self and, even knowing he was going to continue in different adventures sometime in the future, letting go was so very hard. But…I eventually had to give in and, of course, I enjoyed this book as much as all the others. Temple is distracted by thoughts of saying yes to one guy or the other, the mob has reared its ugly head, there are hints of terrorism and Louie and his Cat Pack are on the case(s). When it’s all said and done, Louie leaves us—and multitudes of Las Vegas felines—with a rousing speech and an offer of appetizers. Ah, Louie, Temple and the rest, I’m going to miss you (until you show up again).

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2017.

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Memory
Sharon Ervin
The Wild Rose Press, March 2017
ISBN 978-1-5092-1290-3
Trade Paperback

Mistaken identity takes on a whole new meaning when a woman is killed and everyone thinks it’s Memory Smith. She hasn’t been run over but somebody certainly has thrown a punch at her and Assistant DA Mac McCann wants to know what’s going on with his former classmate. Did someone really mean to kill her? Memory is an odd woman but Mac is drawn to her and the mystery surrounding her supposed death. As you might expect in romantic suspense, an emotional attachment between the two of them soon takes on a life of its own but Memory may not survive long enough to see what might develop with Mac.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2017.

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Crepe Factor
A Scrapbooking Mystery #14
Laura Childs with Terrie Farley Moran
Berkley Prime Crime, October 2016
ISBN 978-0-425-26670-0
Hardcover

Ms. Childs and Ms. Moran continue their collaboration in a charming mystery featuring the death by fork of a food critic (stick a fork in me, I’m done, anyone?) practically right in front of Carmela and Ava, sleuthing duo extraordinaire. Carmela’s previous relationship with the #1 suspect makes sticking her nose in a little dicey and her current boyfriend, police detective Edgar Babcock really wants her to stay out of his investigation but she and Ava can’t resist. A nifty whodunnit and characters that feel like old friends, not to mention a few recipes and scrapbooking tips round out this entertaining entry in the series. I always enjoy these two, especially the slightly loony Ava, and for a few hours while I’m reading one of these books, I can’t help wishing I had the patience and dedication to get into scrapbooking…but the urge passes until the next book 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2017.

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The Locket
On Dark Shores #0
J.A. Clement
Weasel Green Press, December 2016
Ebook

Every child gets excited and exceedingly nosy when Yuletide approaches and the seven-year-old Nereia is no exception. Her father has brought her a special surprise, her Godmother, stopping off for a visit before returning to her diplomatic duties in the midst of war and a beautiful silver locket marks Nereia’s first time taking part in the Yule ceremony. This is a sweet story, very short, and a prequel to Ms. Clement‘s On Dark Shores fantasy series. I think I would have gotten more out of it if I knew anything about the series and I don’t understand the description’s reference to “there is mystery in the air…” but I spent a pleasant few minutes with this small family.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2017.

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Book Review: Cat in a Zebra Zoot Suit by Carole Nelson Douglas.

Cat in a Zebra Zoot Suit 2Cat in a Zebra Zoot Suit
A Midnight Louie Mystery #27
Carole Nelson Douglas
Wishlist Publishing,
ISBN 978-1-943175-02-4
Trade Paperback

From the author—

In Cat in a Zebra Zoot Suit, feline PI Midnight Louie’s roommate, powerhouse PR freelancer Temple Barr, discovers a strip club opening in a nearby empty building threatens her elderly landlady’s wedding chapel business. Electra Lark’s troubles go supernova with a murder charge for a death that echoes a bizarre slaying decades earlier. While Temple’s fiance, Matt Devine, ex-priest radio shrink, plays detective with a rough crowd getting rougher, her ex, magician-counterterrorist Max Kinsella, dodges IRA remnants in Ireland, where psychotic stalker Kathleen O’Connor claims she’s found his cousin, presumed dead from a pub bombing years earlier. All the investigators’ pasts draw them into shocking revelations of present peril. Temple and Louie must solve why a forgotten fifties night club, Zoot Suit Choo-Choo, is again a nexus of death and greed.

He’s short, he’s debonair, he’s a savvy man about town and private eye. He’s the inimitable Midnight Louie, CEO of Midnight Investigations and the only roommate he thinks Miss Temple Barr, amateur detective and red-headed PR maven, needs in their Las Vegas condo. Unfortunately, Temple’s main squeeze, Matt Devine, doesn’t see things the same way.

I’m a fan of series although I’ve become very lax about keeping up with even my favorites just because there are so many good books to be read. Some series, in my opinion, become kind of tired when they go on too long so I tend to skip an entry or two and then pick it up again; the break usually works and I find the series entertaining again. Very few keep my undivided attention and Midnight Louie is one of those few. I’m one title out of sequence—haven’t read Cat in a Yellow Spotlight yet—but that’s OK because time moves glacially from one book to the next and it’ll be easy for me to pick that one up. In the meantime, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Cat in a Zebra Zoot Suit as I knew I would. The thing about really good series is that you can trust the author and her characters to not let you down.

This go round, it’s Electra, Temple’s landlady, who’s in trouble when her ex-husband gets killed and she had a really good motive to do him in. Meanwhile, Temple’s former boyfriend, Max, is busy avoiding killers in Ireland, not to mention fending off his crazy stalker, Kathleen, and Matt is contemplating a career move while doing a little undercover work of his own. While the humans are thus engaged, Louie and his unacknowledged daughter, Louise, are intent on finding out why someone broke into the condo and scared the heck out of the sleeping Temple (who was, of course, rescued by her wrathful kitty). He’s also wondering why the snooty bookstore cat, Ingram, has once again come into his life, much to his dismay.

I love dogs and all sorts of other animals but my heart belongs to the feline tribe and a visit with Louie and his colleagues on the mean streets of Las Vegas is like indulging in comfort food. Better yet is comfort food and Louie 😉 I’m of two minds about the next book in the series, Cat in an Alphabet Endgame, because I want another Louie adventure but it will be the last in the series. The wonderful Ms. Douglas isn’t leaving her fans in the lurch, though—she’s promised that Louie will have a new set of adventures and I can hardly wait!

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, October 2015.