Book Review: What You Wish For by Janet Dawson

What You Wish ForWhat You Wish For
Janet Dawson
Perseverance Press, September 2012
ISBN 978-1-56474-518-7
Trade Paperback

Daytime soap operas have nothing on Janet Dawson‘s latest novel. Vivid memories brought to bear on the present day as four friends struggle with personal and familial issues. From Latin America to San Francisco to Oregon, this a tale woven with strings of heartbreak, discovery, manipulation, and revelations.

Lindsey. Gretchen. Claire. Annabel. Four friends who met in college in San Francisco. Each went onto separate lives, but remained friends. Decades later Annabel suffers a stroke. Her daughter asks Lindsey to look into finding her real father. This is only the tip in this iceberg of a soap opera. Lindsey’s own daughter is back from college and still upset about not knowing HER father. Lindsey’s research into an El Salvadoran massacre brings to light an issue relating to Gretchen’s adopted son. Claire is angling for control of the board of directors at her company now that Annabel is incapacitated and what connection did she have with a coffee kingpin? Connections and complexities all culminate in the forever changing of lives between four friends who thought they knew each other.

Dawson does a wonderful job with detailing the past and making it relevant to the situations in the present. From college days to time in El Salvador, the intermingling circumstances make for an inevitable conflict between the parties involved. While some of the answers are easy to figure out, there are still some surprises left to keep the pages turning.

Reviewed by Stephen L. Brayton, February 2013.
Author of Night Shadows, Beta and Alpha.

Book Review: Artifact by Gigi Pandian—and a Giveaway

Artifact
A Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery

Gigi Pandian
Gargoyle Girl Productions, August 2012
ISBN 978-1-938213-00-7
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

When historian Jaya Jones receives a mysterious package containing a jewel-encrusted artifact from India, sent by her ex-lover the same day he died in a supposed accident in the Highlands of Scotland, she discovers the secrets of a lost Indian treasure may be hidden in a Scottish legend from the days of the British Raj. But she’s not the only one on the trail.

From San Francisco to London to the Highlands of Scotland, Jaya must evade a shadowy stalker as she follows hints from the hastily scrawled note of her dead lover to a remote archaeological dig. Helping her decipher the cryptic clues are her magician best friend, a devastatingly handsome art historian with something to hide, and a charming archaeologist running for his life.

Leave a comment below to enter the drawing

for a copy of Artifact by Gigi Pandian.

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One of my bookclubs chooses mysteries by theme rather than by title or author and each member reads one or more books that fit the theme. This month, it’s “Scientific Occupations” so when I was given the opportunity to read Artifact, I thought, how perfect, I can kill the proverbial two birds and, hopefully, enjoy the double task.

And enjoy it I have. Artifact is a well-done entry in the field of archaeological mysteries with a taste of the historical British India that we westerners don’t often get. Jaya and art historian Lane Peters, a new acquaintance with an interest in the potential treasure, follow up leads to find the rest of the jewels and get to the bottom of why Jaya’s ex-boyfriend, Rupert, sent a piece to her. The fact that he died just after sending the package is too much of a coincidence and both Jaya and Lane have suspicions about the people they come across during the hunt.

Secondary characters, such as Professor Malcolm Alpin, Rupert’s best friend, Knox Bailey, and a pub regular named Fergus with a fervent belief in a dark fayrie known as the bean nighe lend a richness to the tale.  (Even the Tuatha Dé Danann, a group of former Irish deities, come into the mix and that appealed to me as they are an integral part of another series I love dearly.) Twists abound and Jaya finds that there is much she doesn’t know about some of the people involved. Add in the gloomy, menacing environment of a rainy, rocky coast and an arrest that takes Jaya completely by surprise and you have the makings of an atmospheric, fast-paced mystery.

Ms. Pandian received the Malice Domestic Grant, awarded to foster unpublished writers working in the traditional mystery genre, and any readers who are reluctant to pick up a self-published novel can rest assured they won’t be wasting their time with this one. Ms. Pandian proved herself to people who are actively involved in and supportive of the good work of undiscovered mystery writers and she proved to me that they weren’t mistaken. Artifact is the first of a series and I am already looking forward to the next treasure hunt.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, September 2012.


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You have two chances to enter the drawing for a copy of

Artifact by Gigi Pandian. Leave a comment below and then

again on September 16th on Gigi’s guest post. The winning

name will be drawn on the evening of September 17th.