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.

Book Review: Cat in an Alien X-Ray by Carole Nelson Douglas—and a Giveaway!

Cat in an Alien X-RayCat in an Alien X-Ray
A Midnight Louie Mystery
Carole Nelson Douglas
Forge, August 2013
ISBN 978-0-7653-2748-2
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Cat in an Alien X-Ray takes the Las Vegas gang on a science-fictional roller-coaster ride, as Midnight Louie, feline PI, and company encounter UFO enthusiasts, conspiracy nuts who are too bizarre even for tin foil hat therapy. An Area 51 attraction on the Strip threatens to bring more than starry-eyed enthusiasts to town. Once again it is up to that furballed PI Midnight Louie to keep his crew in line and save them from the attack of the creatures from the beyond…or common criminals that prey on the innocent.

Visiting with Midnight Louie, Temple Barr and all their colleagues is always—ALWAYS—a treat and Cat in an Alien X-Ray is certainly no exception. After so many books (this is #25!), this series has cemented itself in my affections and has become, over the years, one of my favorite comfort reads. I don’t expect that to be true with all mystery readers; after all, some can’t handle cats who think and act in a human-like manner even if they don’t speak to us. Still, a hardboiled detective who harks back to the likes of Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe is nothing but fun when said detective is a feline, especially when he tells his side of the story. In Louie’s own words—

Being short, dark, and handsome…really short…gets me overlooked and underestimated, which is what the savvy operative wants anyway. I am your perfect undercover guy. I also like to hunker down under the covers with my little doll. So would some other guys, but they do not have my lush hirsute advantages.

Public relations expert Temple Barr has met some crazy people in her time in Las Vegas but, in a city full of aggressive and flashy dream peddlers, Silas T. Farnum stands out in a crowd. That tip of the nomenclative hat to P. T. Barnum tells you a lot about who this little gnome of a man might be but Temple finds that he’s also sort of irresistible so she signs on to promote his UFO attraction. Unfortunately, the building site soon becomes a crime scene and the very subject of UFOs brings out the, er, nutjobs.  Meanwhile, Temple is also doing a juggling act with her former and current love interests and a serial killer with intent to do harm to them all may be back in town.

Midnight Louie, of course, is on the case from day one, even before Temple agrees to rep Farnum’s project, and his long experience with snooping and sniffing out the facts stands him in good stead. The Strip and the off-Strip are Louie’s territory and no one knows the city like he does but his efforts at getting answers are hampered somewhat by the continual intrusions of his so-called off-spring (plausible deniability!), Midnight Louise. Louise, who wants to follow in Pops’ footsteps, is on her own case but the two are intertwined so Louie reluctantly engages Louise and the two set out to solve the crime(s) with a little help from some temporary agents (the Cat Pack) and a few feathered friends.

One thing I especially like about this series is that time moves glacially. As a result, only two years plus have gone by since we first met Temple and Louie and, although that means they’re finding bodies and other criminal goings-on seemingly every month or so (shades of Cabot Cove!), that is perfectly okay with me. Sometimes, I want my sleuths to age along with me but there are also times when I’ll give up that nod to reality because it means I can hang on to my beloved characters as long as the author can keep writing their stories. I look forward to sharing many more adventures with this Las Vegas crew, furry and otherwise.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2013.

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Two lucky readers will each win a hardcover copy of Cat in an Alien X-Ray

by Carole Nelson Douglas and you have two chances to enter the
drawing. For the first entry, go back and leave a comment on Carole’s

August 2nd guest post. For a second entry, leave a comment here on today’s
review. The winning names will be chosen at random on the  evening of Tuesday,
August 13th. This drawing is open to residents of the US, UK and Canada.