Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star, There’s A Body In The Car
Bella Rosa Books, January 2011
ISBN No. 978-1933523941
There is never a dull moment in Callie Parrish’s life. Callie is employed by Middleton Mortuary. Her job title is mortuary cosmetologist but Callie also answers the phone, talks to clients and does whatever Otis and Odell Middleton need her to do. Callie is currently living with her friend Jane while her home is being redone. Jane is engaged to Callie’s brother.
When Callie makes a stop at the bookstore to pick up a couple of mysteries, she spots a man in a car with a fly on his nose. She soon realizes that there’s a good reason he doesn’t swat the fly off his nose. The guy is dead. Not only is he dead but there’s also a snake in the car.
Callie gets back to the funeral home to find that Odell is leaving and wants her to talk to a Mrs. Joyner who according to Odell wants a St. Patrick’s Day funeral for her husband, which is a bit unusual since it is October. It turns out that Odell misunderstood and Mrs. Joyner wants a green funeral where the body is not embalmed and the casket is environmentally friendly. Mrs. Joyner also wants a set of fingerprints so that she can have the fingerprints preserved in gold.
The fingerprints are taken by Callie but before she can turn them over to Mrs. Joyner a police officer runs the prints and it is found out that Mr. Joyner is not who everyone thinks he is but a participant in an armed robbery years ago.
The Sheriff is busy trying to find out the identity of the man who was found dead in the car as well as seeking more information about Mr. Joyner. As usual, Callie is drawn into the mess and finds herself in one predicament after the other.
This is the fourth Callie Parrish novel. It is always fun to read about Callie who has more adventures in a few days than most people have in their whole life. Odell and Otis are characters that bring a chuckle. Callie’s father and brothers are fun and there is just no one like Callie’s friend Jane.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, April 2011.
Deborah Shlian and Linda Reid
Oceanview Publishing Company, April 2011
It is 1999 and in Los Angeles Santa Ana winds are causing wildfires and Y2K is right around the corner. Sammy Greene who is hosting a talk radio show finds that there is no end to the wild events that Y2K will bring. Sammy’s father, Jeffrey Greene, is a real estate tycoon in the city but Sammy is hesitant to make contact with him. Sammy was close to her previous step-mother but since her father got a divorce and is now remarried Sammy hasn’t bothered to get in touch with Jeffrey since she moved to California. Sammy has always felt that her dad was more interested in his own life and concerns than that of his daughter.
When Sammy gets a call about the discovery of a burned body, she decides to check into the story and discovers that the body has been identified as Ana Pappajohn, the daughter of Sammy’s old friend Gus Pappajohn. Sammy notifies Gus Pappajohn who immediately flies to California to claim his daughter’s body.
The story switches back and forth between Sammy’s actions and that of Ana Pappajohn who actually was still alive. Ana is working for an expensive escort service and is separated at a party from her friend and roommate Sylvie. Somehow the two had gotten their purses mixed up and Ana wound up with Sylvie’s purse. When Sylvie’s body is discovered it is thought that the body was that of Ana’s since Sylvie carried Ana’s ID.
Ana’s date was Neil Prescott, a U. S. Congressman, who was working with Sammy’s father and had some deals going to insure his reelection. The people Prescott was working with were ruthless individuals that would go to any lengths to promote their own interests. Ana soon discovered that Sylvie was passing information regarding the activities of the escort service’s clients. Ana stumbled on some documentation that Sylvie had hidden and the fact that she might have the documentation put Ana’s life in danger.
This novel has several story lines going at the same time. Sammy and her friend Gus begin to believe that Ana is still alive and in hiding and that many details of the burned victim’s death have been manipulated to avoid anyone discovering the true identity of the victim.
Sammy takes many chances to discover to locate her friend Gus’ daughter. It seems that at every turn there is intrigue and cover-up. The authors bring the multiple story lines together in a satisfying and surprising way.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, April 2011.
The Worst Thing
Berkley Prime Crime, May 2011
ISBN No. 978-0425240991
Bryan Bennett has a happy and successful life and his worst thing is something that he manages to put on a shelf a big percentage of the time. Bryan’s worst thing is panic attacks but he has learned to deal with them, at least in his opinion. Bryan works at Odysseus Institute where he specializes in issues relating to kidnapping and extortion. His panic attacks are a result of his abduction and imprisonment in a Turkish dungeon as a young boy.
Bryan’s wife, Lori, loves to travel but Bryan is not comfortable when traveling unless he can manage to do so without getting on a plane. Enclosed places bring on his attacks and Xanax helps but the pills are a crutch and not a cure. When Bryan’s boss suggests that he make a trip to Iceland to teach a kidnapping seminar, Bryan senses Lori’s disappointment and decides that it is time to face his problems and allow Lori to enjoy an expense paid trip to Iceland. Lori is thrilled with the idea of the trip but insists that it is time that Bryan consults a professional regarding his fears.
Bryan agrees and makes an appointment with Zeta Parkington, retired professor, whose specialty was anxiety disorders. Zeta met with Bryan and among other things told him that the only real cure for anxiety problems was to face the fear and conquer that fear. The time for facing his fear was not far away for Bryan
The couple arrives in Iceland without a problem and are soon enjoying the trip. However, the fun is brought to a sudden halt when a group of radical citizen-soldiers executes a kidnapping attempt. The attempt goes wrong and Bryan winds up as a hostage. Now he has to face his old fears and conquer them in order to survive.
The Worst Thing is a novel full of suspense and some surprises. This book gives the reader a real insight into the horrors of panic attacks and makes for excellent reading.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, May 2011.
Nancy Means Wright
Perseverance Press, April 2010
ISBN No. 978-1564744883
The crossing by sea from Holyhead to Dublin proved to be calm for Mary Wollstonecraft for the most part but a wind came up and blew her hat away. A young sailor rescued the hat and Mary discovered the sailor had been to the colonies and been able to purchase a small piece of land and hoped to return to the colonies with the woman who was waiting for him in Ireland. That dream would never come true for the sailor for shortly after talking to him Mary witnessed his body pitching overboard. However, the sailor had managed to pass Mary a note and whisper to her to deliver the note to Liam in Mitchelstown.
Mary’s destination was Mitchelstown where she was to serve as a governess at Mitchelstown Castle for the Kingsborough family. The year is 1786 and Mary was not happy about her new position. Family problems and debts had forced Mary into accepting the position. Mary was independent and had written a book soon to be published. The fact that she had authored a book gave her a bit of status in the castle. Mary hoped that her time as governess would pass quickly.
Life at the castle was hectic and the children’s mother was more concerned about her assortment of dogs than she was about the children. Mary’s independent attitude did not please the Lady of the castle but Mary was determined to hold onto her pride in spite of her dependency on the funds to be earned as governess.
After making discreet inquiries, Mary learned that Liam did live near the castle and one of the servants agreed to put Mary in touch with him so the note could be delivered. There was much turmoil and rebellion during this time and Mary seemed to wind up right in the middle of the turmoil.
Midnight Fires takes the readers through the many adventures that Mary endured while living in the castle not the least of which is a murder and a suicide.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, May 2011.