Love Lies Bleeding
William Morrow, July 2011
ISBN No. 978-0-06-199968-0
Love Lies Bleeding has a little bit of everything to offer. A bit of mystery, a little bit of woo woo and a good cast of characters.
Samantha Moore has lived a very successful life. Samantha holds a prominent position in her father’s company and is engaged to Jackson, a man who had presented her with a beautiful diamond and a promise of a wonderful life.
Then tragedy hit. Samantha is attacked when leaving work and is in a coma for sometime. When she awakes from the coma, she is quite a different person. She repeatedly relives the attack and rebels against the medication prescribed for her. The meds make her sick and forgetful.
Jackson and Samantha’s father decide that Samantha needs to spend some quiet time to recover and rent a cottage for her in a quiet town. Spirits from the past seem to haunt the cottage and Samantha begins to believe that she is losing all control over her life.
When Anne Weaver decides to take the position as nurse to Samantha, both lives are changed. The two clash but soon find a middle ground and Samantha begins on her road to recovery. Samantha also bit by bit pieces together the history of the cottage she is living in and reveals a long buried mystery.
The author, Jess McConkey, also writes under the name of Shirley Damsgaard. I found this book to be a very fast read. I will be anxious to read more stories by Jess McConkey.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, October 2011.
Where All the Dead Lie
Mira, September 2011
ISBN No. 978-0778312680
This is my first Taylor Jackson novel but it won’t be my last. The story grabs the reader and doesn’t let go until the entire story is revealed.
Taylor Jackson is a Nashville, Tennessee homicide detective. Taylor is recovering from a case where she was shot in the head and fellow officers were injured. Taylor has lost her ability to speak. It is unclear whether the loss of speech is caused by the injury or by the guilt Taylor is feeling because she didn’t do more to help her best friend who lost her child because of the case that brought about Taylor’s injury.
Against the advice of Taylor’s fiancée, Dr. John Baldwin, she accepts the offer of Memphis Highsmythe, an old friend, for Taylor to recuperate in his family’s estate in Scotland. Taylor knows that Memphis has romantic feelings towards her but feels that she is strong enough to handle any advances he might possibly make. Highsmythe is a detective inspector with the Metropolitan Police in London and Taylor and Memphis have a lot in common.
Memphis introduces Taylor to Madeira James, a doctor friend, in the hope that she can be of help to Taylor with the problem with her voice but Taylor begins to believe that Madeira is not to be trusted.
The trip to Scotland turns into a real adventure with even a ghost or two making an appearance. Even though Taylor’s voice is giving her problems, she is able to sift through all the strange happenings and solve the puzzle presented to her in Scotland.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, November 2011.
Poisoned Pen Press, November 2011
ISBN No. 978-1590589595
“Treva Williams, the only hostage to be released, sat on the curb beyond the cordoned-off area, wrapped in an EMT blanket.” This sentence is the opening line in Fever Dream and immediately captures the reader’s sympathy for Treva.
Meanwhile, Detective Eleanor Lowrey is on the phone to Daniel Rinaldi, psychologist. Rinaldi is also a trauma expert and consults with the Pittsburgh police. Detective Lowrey asks Rinaldi to come right away to the scene of a bank robbery that has gone bad. The criminals are still inside the bank but one hostage, Treva Williams, has been released. Treva is badly traumatized and Detective Lowrey is hoping that Rinaldi can perform some magic that will calm Treva and help the police in their handling of the standoff situation.
When Rinaldi arrives on the scene he is able to immediately connect with Treva and learn a little more about the situation inside the bank. Then suddenly everything explodes as shots ring out and police converge on the scene. Rinaldi promises Treva to ride to the hospital with her in the ambulance, though he is prevented from keeping that promise.
Rinaldi works with Detective Lowrey and Sgt. Harry Polk, another investigating officer, but Polk’s mind seems to be someplace other than the investigation and at times he drops out of sight and doesn’t appear where he is supposed to be.
When District Attorney Leland Sinclair receives a death threat, Rinaldi begins to wonder if there is a connection between the situation at the bank and the DA Sinclair’s current political campaign. Rinaldi continues to stay in touch with Treva. She is released from the hospital but Treva is still suffering from the traumatic events of the robbery, including the murder of her boyfriend, Bobby Marks, as she looked on.
The story is complicated but Dennis Palumbo pulls all the pieces together for an exciting and surprise conclusion. This is the second book in the Daniel Rinaldi series. I haven’t read Mirror Image, the first book in the series but I do intend to correct that soon.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, December 2011.
Matt Royal Series
H. Terrell Griffin
Oceanview Publishing, December 2011
ISBN No. 978-1608090266
This newest addition to the Matt Royal series manages to keep the reader on pins and needles until the very end of the book. Matt is an attorney living in Longboat Key, Florida. Matt has pretty much given up the practice of law and is just enjoying a leisurely life.
Jim Desmond, a young groom, is killed on the beach in Longboat Key the day following his wedding. On the same day three other murders occur on a local dinner cruise. Longboat Key detective and close friend of Matt, Jennifer Diane Duncan (J. D.) isn’t coming up with any answers. The groom was from Atlanta. One of the victims killed on the dinner cruise was a lawyer from Jacksonville, Peter Garrison. Another victim was a twenty-five year old woman from Charlotte, North Carolina. The third victim was the Captain of the dinner cruise.
Matt is puzzled by the deaths but has no reason to become involved until an old buddy from Matt’s years in VietNam stops by for a visit. Charles T. Desmond (“Doc”) reveals that the young man killed was his son. Doc pressures Matt to file a civil case in order to gather evidence that the police can’t access and hopefully find out who killed Jim. Doc agrees that any evidence that is turned up from the civil action can be turned over to the prosecutors. Matt finds it difficult to say no to a man that saved his life so he agrees to take on the case.
Logan Hamilton and Jock Algren, Matt’s friends, join Matt to help with the investigation and the clues keep Matt on the move. More and more it seems that the deaths are part of some international plot. Before Matt and his friends can discover what is really going on there are more unexplained deaths and Matt fears for the life of J. D.
This sixth addition to the Matt Royal series is very good. It is not necessary to read previous Matt Royal novels prior to reading Collateral Damage but each book in the series reveals more about Matt Royal and the crew that usually steps up to help him out.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, April 2012.
F. M. Meredith
Oak Tree Press/Dark Oak Mysteries, March 2012
ISBN No. 978-1610090865
Gordon Butler is a member of the Rocky Bluff Police Department. Nothing ever seems to go Gordon’s way. He is single and previously lived with another officer on the force, Doug Milligan. When Doug married Stacey Wilbur, Gordon moved in with Stacey’s parents. Where relationships are concerned, Doug always seems to be on the outside looking in at other people’s happiness. Not so in the latest Rocky Bluff mystery. Doug finally works up the courage to ask Benay Weiss for a date and she accepts. Now Gordon and Benay are spending a lot of time together.
Gordon receives an early morning phone call from Benay and she is very upset. Her best friend Geri Rowe has disappeared. Geri’s husband Philip called Benay to see if she had any information about Geri.
Gordon’s first case of the day takes him to the scene of a murder. Some teenagers have found the body of a woman and Gordon immediately thinks of Geri. The body does turn out to be that of Benay’s best friend. As the investigation goes forward Gordon’s girlfriend, Benay, becomes the number one suspect. Gordon knows in his heart that Benay couldn’t be guilty and he makes up his mind that he will find out the identity of the real killer.
Risking his reputation as well as his job, Gordon covers the calls assigned to him during working hours and spends his time off attempting to discover everything he can about Geri, her husband and who might have a motive to end Geri’s life.
There are some humorous sections in the book and updates on other members of the Rocky Bluff residents. You will have to read the book to know if Gordon’s courageous efforts on Benay’s part bring him the respect and appreciation he deserves.
Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid, June 2012.