Book Review: Murder by Perfection by Lauren Carr @TheMysteryLadie @BooksbyAcorn @iReadBookTours

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Title: Murder by Perfection
Series: Thorny Rose Mystery Series #3
Author: Lauren Carr
Narrator: Mike Alger
Publication Date: May 31, 2018

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Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes // Amazon

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Murder by Perfection
Thorny Rose Mystery Series #3
Lauren Carr
Narrated by Mike Alger
Acorn Book Services, May 2018
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

Beware: Perfection has a dark side!

Frustrated with their busy schedules, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday attempt to find togetherness by scheduling a weekly date night. The last thing Jessica Faraday expected for her date night was to take a couple’s gourmet cooking course at the Stepford Kitchen Studio, owned by Chef Natalie Stepford―the model of perfection in looks, home, and business.

When Natalie ends up dead and Murphy goes missing, the Thorny Rose detectives must peel back the layers of Natalie Stepford’s life to discover that the pursuit of perfection can be deadly.

Murphy and Jessica lead hectic lives but he’s more than willing when an old Navy friend asks to meet him, hinting that he wants to talk about something shady. Just as Murphy is arriving, he hears a gunshot and finds Commander Ross Caldwell dead in his car. NCIS is quick to respond and Murphy, even though he’s a witness, is soon deep into the investigation but no one can foresee what they will begin to unearth, beginning with the disappearance of the HHS representative Ross was planning to see.

Various bits of information lead them in several directions including to what may be criminal activities in a private clinic but it’s the kidnapping of Murphy that brings the extended Faraday-Thornton family into the mix and Jessica’s brother, Tristan, along with JJ, Murphy’s twin brother, become particularly important to the entire investigation. Jessica carries out her part, somewhat haphazardly, in the ransom negotiations but it’s the brothers who play critical roles. Before all is said and done, a tangle of leads unravel more than one sinister plot with plenty of paths for the investigators—and readers—to follow.

As can be expected by anyone familiar with Lauren Carr’s work, the suspense and tension are lightened by side moments with pets like Newman, a Basset hound mix who brings new meaning to the sobriquet “couch potato” and who has learned how to operate the remote to watch his favorite tv shows. Adding to the fun is Nigel, an AI created by the techno-geek Tristan; Nigel runs the Faraday-Thornton mansion and is a whiz with research. Nigel has become my latest fantasy, not to mention the mansion and all the nifty toys the very wealthy couple enjoy. There’s also a hilarious scene involving JJ and some phone calls that had me chortling out loud 🤣

Having come to love Mike Alger’s narration in other books by Ms. Carr, I was very glad to hear him again and, while I wasn’t so thrilled with a couple of enhancements, for lack of a better word, they didn’t detract in any way from my enjoyment of the audio version of this book.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2020.

About the Author

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, Chris Matheson Cold Case, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty-five titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, crime fiction, police procedurals, romance, and humor.

​A popular speaker, Lauren is also the owner of Acorn Book Service, the umbrella under which falls iRead Book Tours. She lives with her husband and two spoiled rotten German Shepherds on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

​Connect with the author: Website  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook  ~  Instagram

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Follow the tour:

May 4 – Hall Ways Blog – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – She Just Loves Books – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – series spotlight / giveaway
May 4 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 4 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Kill and Run
May 5 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of A Fine Year for Murder
May 6 – Buried Under Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 6 – Michelle L. Bloodworth – Goodreads – review of Murder by Perfection
May 7 – A Mama’s Corner of the World – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 8 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 11 – Locks, Hooks and Books – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 11 – Jazzy Book Reviews – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 11 – Merlot Et mots –series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Laura’s Interests – series spotlight / giveaway
May 12 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 13 – Bookish Quest – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Blooming with Books – review of Kill and Run / giveaway
May 13 – Lamon Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 14 – Buried Under Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 15 – Sefina Hawke’s Books – series spotlight
May 19 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
May 19 – Rosepoint Publishing – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 20 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway
May 20 – Bookish Quest – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 20 – Blooming with Books – review of A Fine Year for Murder / giveaway
May 21 – Books for Books – review of Murder by Perfection
May 21 – La libreria di Beppe – series spotlight / giveaway
May 22 – fundinmental – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 25 – Buried Under Books – review of Murder By Perfection / giveaway
May 25 – T’s Stuff – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
May 26 – Dab of Darkness Audiobook Reviews – series spotlight / giveaway
May 27 – Bookish Quest – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May  27 – Blooming with Books – review of Murder by Perfection / giveaway
May 27 – Books for Books – series spotlight
May 28 – Bookish Quest – series spotlight / author interview/ giveaway
May 29 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – series spotlight / guest post
Jun 1 – Thoughts in Progress – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 2 – Svetlana’s reads and views – series spotlight
Jun 2 – Kristin’s Novel Café – series spotlight
Jun 3 – Buried Under Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 3 – Blooming with Books – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 – Rosepoint Publishing – series spotlight / giveaway
Jun 4 –Splashes of Joy – series spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jun 5 – The avid reader – series spotlight / giveaway

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Giveaway

Win a $50 Amazon gift card courtesy
of
Lauren Carr, author of 

The Thorny Rose Mysteries.

Enter here.

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Book Review: Things in Jars by Jess Kidd @JessKiddHerself @AtriaBooks

Things In Jars
Jess Kidd
Atria Books, February 2020
ISBN: 978-1-9821-2128-0
Hardcover

When I first laid eyes on this novel I wasn’t going to read or review it. Not my kind of crime novel, I thought. But I read the first page. Then I read the entire thing, almost without stopping. This woman has a way with words and even more significantly, with story.

Here is London of the Victorian Age, but not the London of royalty and means. This is the London of disease, of violence and brutality, of starvation and lives too often begun and played out in darkness and misery, unseen, unremarked and unconsecrated. Here is London in myth and reality. More, here is a story that takes one to the edge of the sea and dares you to look deep, below the surface and just consider the possibilities.

Bridie Devine is an unusual anomaly in London. She’s a middle-aged single woman who supports herself as a private investigator. It’s the middle of the century and while prisons like Newgate are well-known, well-established protective police departments are not. The story chases Bridie back and forth from significant childhood among Irish contemporaries to recognition of her prodigious intellect at an early stage to considered analysis of facts and evidence.

Make no mistake, though this story deals prominently with other worldly manifestations, it is rooted in the mean and fraught world of the lower classes and with real human emotion and attitude. Here is a story that will grab you and not let go, even after the final page.

Reviewed by Carl Brookins, February 2020.
http://www.carlbrookins.com http://agora2.blogspot.com
Traces, Grand Lac, Reunion, Red Sky.

Book Review: A Dangerous Man by Robert Crais

A Dangerous Man
An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel #18
Robert Crais
G.P.Putman’s Son, August 2019
ISBN 978-0-525-53568-3
Hardcover

After paying a visit to his Bank, Joe Pike is sitting in his Jeep Cherokee when he notices the young female Bank Teller who’d been helping him was being shoved into the rear of a car. Pike, once a member of the LAPD, decides to follow the car, and when it comes to a halt at a traffic light, he quickly rescues the woman, and together with her kidnappers, they wait for the police.

Isabel Roland, Izzy to her friends, has no idea why the two men tried to kidnap her. She explains to the police what happened and later when she calls Joe to thank him again she mentions that one of the men told her that he knew her secret, but Izzy thinks they must have the wrong person.

A few days later the police appear outside Joe’s house. They tell him that the two kidnappers made bail but they have been found murdered. Joe is worried about Izzy and after the police leave he goes to her house to check on her… She’s missing.

Joe calls on his friend and business partner Elvis Cole to help him find out what or who is behind these troubling events. As Elvis investigates he uncovers a decades old crime involving a whistleblower at a corporate level, and millions of dollars that went missing. But just how Izzy is connected is still a mystery.

This is a fast paced fun read, and if you haven’t been following these two friends then you can jump in here without needing to know too much about their past relationship. As a long-time fan, it’s always a treat to catch up with Elvis and Joe.

Check it out! You won’t regret it.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, September 2019.

Book Review: Shamed by Linda Castillo @LindaCastillo11 @MinotaurBooks

Shamed
A Kate Burkholder Mystery #11
Linda Castillo
Minotaur Books, July 2019
ISBN 978-1-250-14286-3
Hard Cover

Chief of Police Kate Burkholder is called to an abandoned farm where an Amish grandmother is found brutally murdered and one of her grandchildren is abducted. The search for the missing 7 year old girl becomes a high priority.

I’ve been a fan of this series for some time and enjoy visiting Kate and the people of Painters Mill. Kate grew up in this Amish community but left as a teenager. She is now the Chief of Police and has a strong knowledge and understanding of the Amish people in this small town. Time is of the essence in cases of abducted children but the murderer/kidnapper seems to have vanished into thin air and after talking to the missing child’s family, Kate gets the impression they are keeping secrets.

The investigation takes her to a nearby Amish community but the killer is watching, intent of reaping revenge. Kate has her work cut out trying to piece together the mystery that appears to have a connection to the past, a past no one is willing to reveal. After finding another victim, Kate is attacked but the killer escapes and seems determined to punish those he believes ruined his life.

Linda Castillo continues to write taut suspenseful novels with a protagonist who is compassionate and caring with an inner strength she struggles at times to maintain. Over the ten previous novels I’ve learned a lot about the Amish and Kate Burkholder’s personal history and while each novel can stand alone, I’d highly recommend you start with the first, Sworn to Silence.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, August 2019.

Review: Shamed: A Novel of Suspense by Linda Castillo

Reprinted from Kevin’s Corner
Initially posted on August 15, 2019

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Review: Shamed: A Novel of Suspense by Linda Castillo

Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police of Painters Mill, Ohio, is back in Shamed: A Novel of Suspense and dealing with a murder and subsequent nightmare of a missing child. The old Schattenbaum place hasn’t been lived in since the flood of 1969 damn near took everything. Before the flood, as a child, Mary Yolder was out there all the time. She still comes back to wander the abandoned property in order to cut flowers and harvest the walnuts that fall from nearly a dozen trees. These days Mary Yolder is a widow, sixty years old, and grandmother and she keeps the collecting of walnuts tradition going with her grandkids. On this day she is out there with her five year old granddaughter, Annie, and her seven year old sister, Elise.

Long before the day is done, Mary Yolder is dead by the work of an angry and vicious killer and Elise has been taken by that same person. Annie is left behind, badly traumatized, and of little help to Chief Burkholder or to her sister.

A kidnapping is always difficult to deal with, but especially in the Amish community where privacy is highly valued. The family is a respected pillar of the community, but it seems pretty clear as the initial hours pass, that they are keeping secrets. Secrets that may or may not have a role in the horrific crimes that have rocked everyone in the area.

Shamed is the latest in the long running mystery series that began many years ago with Sworn to Silence. The latest read is another solidly good read. It is also one that could be read by readers new to the series as the references to earlier cases are kept to a minimum. For those of us old hands at this great series, author Linda Castillo weaves another tale of mystery and intrigue and does so with all the usual series regulars and a few new folks one is glad to meet. Shamed is another good book in a great series and well worth your time.

For another take on the book, make sure you read Lesa Holstine’s review from July.

Shamed: A Novel of Suspense

Linda Castillo

http://www.lindacastillo.com

Minotaur Books (St. Martin’s Publishing Group)

http://www.minotaurbooks.com

July 2019

Hardback (also available in audio and eBook formats)

304 Pages

$26.99

Material supplied by the good folks of the Dallas Public Library System. My library copy came from the Forest Green Branch.

Kevin R. Tipple ©2019

Book Review: Five Days, Five Dead by Carol Wright Crigger—and a Giveaway!

Five Days, Five Dead
A China Bohannon Novel #5
Carol Wright Crigger
Five Star Publishing, December 2018
ISBN 978-1-4328-4729-6
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Sepp Amsel, a fabulously successful gambling hall and saloonkeeper entrepreneur, is about to become the bridegroom in the most public wedding ever to take place in wild and woolly Spokane, Washington. He wants to engage China’s detective services when his fiancee’s sister is kidnapped and a substantial ransom demanded. There’s just one problem. The client thinks it’s possible he’s being bamboozled because things don’t quite add up. Only days remain for China to figure out why the sister was snatched and not the bride. But the clock is ticking. Worse, it isn’t long until murder becomes part of the equation. First a bellhop, then a tailor. Who will be next? China had better find out soon, before she, too, becomes a target for murder.

China Bohannon is a young woman blessed with determination, intelligence and the ability and desire to look out for herself quite well but, unfortunately for China, she lives in a time when those characteristics are not generally seen as positive virtues. She’d very much like to be a “real” detective in her uncle’s agency but Uncle Monk and his partner, Gratton Doyle (who is much too attractive), just can’t be convinced that this is work suitable for a woman so she snatches her chances when she can.

When Sepp Amsel walks into the Doyle & Howe Detective Agency, China is fortuitously the only one there and she’s intrigued by what he tells her, starting with the fact that he came to engage her in particular. Amsel is in the gambling and saloon business and there are only a few days to save the young woman who has been abducted for ransom. Time might be especially short as the kidnappers have taken the wrong woman.

An already suspicious situation becomes more so when the Austrian mail order bride, sister of the kidnap victim, is less than helpful and, of course, there’s a whole lot more to this case. When Uncle Monk and Gratton find out about it, they naturally try to take over but they get led astray and China soon finds herself in a world of trouble, largely because of her inexperience. With the help of a few friends and with her beloved Bedlington terrier, Nimble, by her side China manages to keep one step ahead of mortal danger while following leads through the seamy side of Spokane during a harsh winter spell. Bodies are accumulating, though, and she has a lot of clues to sift through. Eventually, the guys return and their assistance is not entirely unwelcome.

Will the plaque in the office window ever read “Doyle, Howe & Bohannon”? Only time will tell if the two men will eventually acknowledge her talents enough to take the big step but, in the meantime, China is honing her skills one case at a time. I hope she’ll attain her dream one day but I’m enjoying watching her learn how to be a proper detective and can’t wait for her next adventure. This one is going on my list of best books read in 2019.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2019.

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To enter the drawing for an Advance
Reading Copy of Five Days, Five Dead
just leave a comment below. The winning
name will be drawn on the evening of
Friday, July 26th. Open to the US and Canada.

 

Book Review: Night Rides by Carole T. Beers

Night Rides
A Pepper Kane Mystery, Book #4
Carole T. Beers
W & B Publishers, May 2019
ISBN 978-1-63554-161-8
Trade Paperback

For this adventure, former crime reporter Pepper Kane, along with her friend and business partner, Tulip Clemmons, is in Seattle. They’re riding in one of the northwest’s most important horses shows. A lot is at stake as riders compete not only for money, but prestige and reputation. The competition, we discover, is not always friendly.

On the first night, the women, accompanied by Pepper’s lover, Sonny Chief, are returning to Pepper’s on-site living quarters, when, after checking on her horse, she needs the fancy public restroom. While at first apparently deserted, she hears noises, moans, screams, thumping, scratching–all the sounds of a rather violent sexual encounter. She calls out, but there is no answer. Wondering if there was more going on than just sex, she reports what she heard to security, leaving a message when no one answers the emergency number.

Next day, a man, one of the judges in the competition is found dead⏤murdered. Pepper, not only fretting at the seeming inaction of the police, especially when they don’t seem interested in her report, but having a bit of detective type experience, soon takes a hand. When a second person is murdered⏤neither of them the most sympathetic of victims⏤what happens next has you wondering if she’d been better off to back away.

Odd things happen. Something as simple as a mug being stolen from a transgender competitor. An expensive bracelet Pepper’s daughter Chili has for sale in their store is stolen, and to wind things up, Chili is kidnapped and faced with certain death.

Well-written, snappy dialogue draws the reader forward. The action keeps one turning pages to find out what happens next. Pepper takes what seem like a few wrong turns, but always works toward an action-filled and twisty conclusion. The characters are well-fleshed out, but to me, in this particular story, the best part is when we are with the horses, riding in the ring, feeling the excitement and thrill of the show.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, April 2019.
Author of Five Days, Five Dead, Hereafter and Hometown Homicide.