Book Review: Not As We Knew It by F. M. Meredith @MarilynMeredith

Not As We Knew It
Rocky Bluff P. D. Mystery #16
F. M. Meredith
ISBN 979-8564552684
Trade Paperback

From the author—

The challenges come one after another for the Rocky Bluff P.D. to handle―from a missing woman to a fatal house fire.Detective Doug Milligan is faced with new and unusual problems to solve, some on the job and others related to his family.Gordon Butler isn’t too happy that his wife was chosen to train the latest new-hire.With the department shorthanded, Chief Chandra Taylor must make some hard decisions in order to protect the town of Rocky Bluff. Her romance with the mayor, which had been put on hold, is refreshed when she seeks his help.

One of the real pitfalls (for me) of accepting review requests from authors is the potential danger of having a request fall into a black hole because of backlogs that get worse and worse due to illness and life conditions in general (specifically the weird funk that has come with the pandemic, leading to a major reading slump and inability to focus). I have several books that have been wallowing in this pit, including this one, and I can only abjectly apologize for slacking off much too long. What’s really sad is that Not As We Knew It is a good book and it deserved better treatment from me.

Although some readers have said they don’t want the pandemic to play a role in the books they choose, Ms. Meredith opted to make it a part of her story and I’m glad she did. One of the hallmarks of police procedural is that they’re rooted in reality and this awful scourge is as real as it gets.

Ms. Meredith has a good hand with building characters we longtime fans love to spend time with and, besides the personal and societal complications of life brought about by Covid, our favorite detectives, such as Abel Navarro and Doug Milligan, are confronted by the crimes we might expect while Chief Taylor does everything she can to keep Rocky Bluff on an even keel, safe from criminals and overstressed, irrational citizens alike. You could say that Not As We Knew It is a police procedural very reflective of this odd world we’re struggling with. Well done!

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2021.

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Giveaway

To enter the drawing for a print copy of
Not As We Knew It, leave a comment
below. The winning name will be drawn
on the evening of Thursday, September 2nd.
US and Canada entrants only.

Book Review: A Twist of Fortune by Mike Martin @mike54martin @AnAudiobookworm

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Title: A Twist of Fortune
Series: Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, Book 4
Author: Mike Martin
Narrator: Francis G. Kearney
Publication Date: July 7, 2021

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A Twist of Fortune
Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, Book 4
Mike Martin
Narrated by Francis G. Kearney
Mike Martin, July 2021
Downloaded Unabridged Audiobook

From the author—

A Twist of Fortune is the fourth book in the Sgt. Windflower Mystery Series, and it continues the adventures of Sgt. Windflower, as he tries to solve crime and experience the joy and the sadness of life in a small maritime community. Follow along as he feels the sometimes bitter taste of an east coast winter and the unique culinary delights of this part of the world.

As is so often the case in a small coastal community, the local fish factory is the primary employer in Grand Banks, Newfoundland, and its closing is a major upset for the village. Such an economic downturn has repercussions and the small contingent of Mounties, led by Sgt. Winston Windflower, have much to keep them busy.

Not least in the reactions to the closing are the public protests with Windflower’s longtime girlfriend up front and center. When Sheila is arrested, Windflower finds himself in an awkward position and the choice he makes to stand on the side of law and order doesn’t exactly further their relationship.

Meanwhile, the usual life of a Mountie goes on and a body soon crops up, a body that shows evidence of murder, leading to the ever-present drug world, and that keeps Windflower’s attention but so do the myriad activities of life in a small town. At times, I thought the latter took too much precedence and, while I’m interested in the personal side of the community, I would have liked a little more consideration of the criminal and police aspects. Still, this remains one of my favorite traditional mystery series, largely because of its gentle nature.

As always, Francis G. Kearney does a fine job with the narration, particularly with the accents and inflections I expect to hear in a small Canadian town. All in all, I’m very happy whenever a new audio edition of Mr. Martin’s Sgt. Windflower books becomes available and I’m hoping the next one won’t be too far behind.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2021.

Purchase Links:
Audible // iTunes

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About the Author

Mike Martin is the author of the award-winning Sgt. Windflower Mystery series set in beautiful Grand Bank. There are 4 audiobooks so far with more in the works. They include The Walker on the Cape, The Body on the T, Beneath the Surface, and the latest audiobook A Twist of Fortune.

Mike is Past Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers and a member of the Newfoundland Writing Guild and Ottawa Independent Writers.

Website // Twitter // Facebook

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About the Narrator

I’m Francis G. Kearney. During college I began working as a local actor/performer, and upon leaving began a successful career building and selling multiple businesses. One close to my heart focused on aviation.

As an accomplished aviator, I worked on multiple films & tv as a helicopter camera ship pilot!

I have always been an insatiable reader with a love of history – the ultimate story, and anything military – especially if it flies.

My evolution into narration and the joy of storytelling is the culmination of many years of a life fully lived and is reflected in a voice of experience.

 

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Play an excerpt here.

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Follow the tour here.

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Book Review: The Last Exit by Michael Kaufman—and a Giveaway! @KaufmanWrites @crookedlanebks

The Last Exit
A Jen Lu Mystery #1
Michael Kaufman
Crooked Lane Books, January 2021
ISBN 978-1-64385-567-7
Hardcover

Set in the future, Jen Lu is a Washington D.C. detective with a synth implant named Chandler residing in her neocortex. She is able to turn Chandler off at will, but is not supposed to when on duty. With a population grown out of control and limited resources and space for everyone, people over sixty-five are required to exit (die) so their children may live—as long as they can pay for an expensive longevity treatment.

One evening, Jen and Chandler are called to a stand-off between parents and child because the parents refuse to “exit” at their son’s demand.  A shoot-out occurs, with the mother’s last words something about going to Eden.

Jen’s investigation turns up a cheaper source for the treatment and the term “Eden” is mentioned, but reports are coming in of many people dying. When her supervisor calls her off the case, suspicions grow of something hinky going on, which involves people in government, law enforcement, and of course, highest society.

Determined to get to the bottom of it, especially after Chandler is turned off and Jen fired, Jen’s own life and hope for longevity is put in jeopardy as she follows a money trail. Only the presence of her former cop partner, her boyfriend, and Chandler’s power, can help put things right.

Excellent world-building, entirely plausible—and more than a bit scary. Fine writing and interesting characters make Mr. Kaufman most definitely a writer to watch.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, August 2021.
http://www.ckcrigger.com
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Six Dancing Damsels: A China Bohannon Mystery

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Giveaway

To enter the drawing for a print copy of
The Last Exit, leave a comment
below. The winning name will be drawn
on the evening of Sunday, August 22nd.
US and Canada entrants only.

Book Review: The Girl from Silent Lake by Leslie Wolfe @LWNovels @bookouture @SDSXXTours

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The Girl From Silent Lake
Detective Kay Sharp Book 1
by Leslie Wolfe
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
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Wow!!!! It simply took my breath away so much that I
finished this book in one go! Literally took my breath away!
I simply couldn’t put the book down. Unputdownable.”
Tropical Girl Reads Books, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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The Girl from Silent Lake
Detective Kay Sharp Book 1
Leslie Wolfe
Bookouture, February 2021
ISBN 978-1-83888-985-2
Trade Paperback
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From the publisher—
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Her daughter, with emerald eyes and the sweetest smile, is everything to her. Her whole world. “Mommy,” the little girl says, touching her mother’s face with trembling fingers before she’s torn away. “Don’t cry.” Will she ever see her again?
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When single mother Alison Nolan sets off with her six-year-old daughter, Hazel, she can’t wait to spend precious time with her girl. A vacation in Silent Lake, where snow-topped mountains are surrounded by the colors of fall, is just what they need. But hours later, Alison and Hazel vanish into thin air.
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Detective Kay Sharp rushes to the scene. The only evidence that they were ever there is an abandoned rental car with a suitcase in the back, gummy bears in the open glove compartment and a teddy bear on the floor.
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Kay’s mind spins. A week before, the body of another woman from out of town was found wrapped in a blanket, her hair braided and tied with feathers. Instinct tells her that the cases are connected––and it won’t be long until more innocent lives are lost.
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As Kay leads a frenzied search, time is against her, but she vows that Alison and little Hazel will be found alive. She works around the clock, even though the small town is up in arms, saying she’s asking too many questions. Then she uncovers a vital clue – a photograph of the blanket that the first victim was buried in.
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Just when Kay thinks she’s found the missing piece, she realises she’s being watched. Is she getting too close, or is her own past catching up with her?
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With a little girl’s life on the line, Kay will stop at nothing. But will it be enough to get inside the mind of the most twisted killer she has ever encountered, or will another blameless child be taken?
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A totally gripping and utterly pulse-pounding crime thriller series for readers who love Lisa Regan, Robert Dugoni and Kendra Elliot. This twist-packed page-turner gives “unputdownable” a whole new meaning!
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There’s a certain predictability in The Girl from Silent Lake because the essential elements are much like so many police procedurals—unattached woman detective returns to the place where she has a troubled past, small town atmosphere, a dead body, missing women and children, has an expertise that can help the local police, kickass attitude, covering a secret, etc., etc. This sense of familiarity is not necessarily a bad thing, though, because there’s comfort to be found in that very familiarity and deep surprises are not always needed or wanted by the reader. In this case, I appreciated knowing pretty much how things were going to play out because it’s the story I was looking for at this time.
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One thing I never could get a handle on was why an accomplished forensic FBI agent would leave her job, even temporarily, to housesit for her incarcerated brother. He’s onlly in for six months, for heaven’s sake, and it would/should be easy to find someone local to occasionally check on the house. In fact, I imagine the local cops would be willing to help out a fellow law officer so that reason for Kay’s return to the place she swore never to return to doesn’t hold water. Still, once I put that aside, the tale became quite enjoyable with an engaging troop of characters and a tension-filled investigation. This is a promising beginning to what will probably be a very good series.
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Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2021.
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Goodreads * Barnes & Noble * Amazon

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About the Author

Leslie Wolfe is a bestselling author whose novels break the mold of traditional thrillers. She creates unforgettable, brilliant, strong women heroes who deliver fast-paced, satisfying suspense, backed up by extensive background research in technology and psychology.
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Leslie released the first novel, Executive, in October 2011. It was very well received, including inquiries from Hollywood. Since then, Leslie published numerous novels and enjoyed growing success and recognition in the marketplace. Among Leslie’s most notable works, The Watson Girl (2017) was recognized for offering a unique insight into the mind of a serial killer and a rarely seen first person account of his actions, in a dramatic and intense procedural thriller.
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A complete list of Leslie’s titles is available at https://lesliewolfe.com/books/.
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Leslie enjoys engaging with readers every day and would love to hear from you.
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Giveaway

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

$50 Amazon

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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Book Review: Death Grip by Elaine Viets @evmysterywriter @severnhouse

Death Grip
An Angela Richman, Death Investigator Mystery (Book 4)
Elaine Viets
Severn House Publishers, March 2021
ISBN 978-0-7278-9018-4
Hardcover

This is the 4th book in the Death Investigator Series.  It is set in Chouteau County, Missouri. The heroine, Angela Richman, is a Death Investigator who is called out to examine and gather evidence when a death has occurred.

At the outset of the story Angela is called to a densely wooded area of the County. There, Detective Jace Budewitz leads her to the body found by a hiker, and suggests that the isolated area might well be a  ‘body dump’.

Angela is joined by another colleague, a CSI tech, and together they begin to gather evidence. Angela photographs the victim and collects and identifies anything that might offer a clue to the identity of the deceased or the perpetrator.

Her colleague, after studying the body, believes it belongs to Terri Gibbons, a high school track and field athlete who went missing eight months ago.

Two more bodies are also found in the area and arrangements are made to transport the victims for examination by a forensic anthropologist.  It isn’t long before a rather damaging clue is discovered, a clue that points to a rich, powerful, well-known local bachelor who already has some questionable history with the police.

A search-warrant is issued which seemed somewhat premature, and when nothing incriminating is found, the investigation is temporarily derailed.

While I initially liked the set up and start of the book, it quickly veered off course and settled on Angela’s personal life;  her love for her dead husband, a possible new love interest, and her own lack of interest in moving on with her life.

Her struggle with not being ready for a new romance felt more like filler, passing the time until another line of inquiry brought the reader back to the mystery of the murders of the three women.

I was also surprised to learn that while Angela was a Death Investigator she was not a qualified Detective and was told not to interfere with the ongoing investigation.  She is, in fact, reprimanded for doing so and warned off.

This, however, doesn’t deter Angela from continuing to pursue the case, determined to uncover evidence against the wealthy bachelor. But once again the narrative moves between interviewing women who had previously worked for the suspect, and the budding romance with the newest member of the force.

The climax, although a touch contrived, is exciting, bringing the mystery to a satisfying conclusion.

While the book was a relatively fast read, my interest lagged at times. If you are a fan of this well known author you will no doubt enjoy Angela’s latest entry.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, July 2021.

Book Review: Death Washes Ashore by Patricia Skalka @PatriciaSkalka @UWiscPress

Death Washes Ashore
A Dave Cubiak Door County Mystery #6
Patricia Skalka
University of Wisconsin Press, April 2021
ISBN 978-0-299-32820-7
Hardcover

A huge storm has hit the shores of Lake Michigan, washing all sorts of strange objects ashore. One of them is a knight in full armor, and he is very dead. Called away from cleaning debris from his own piece of storm worried beachfront, Sheriff Dave Cubiak can’t help but wonder why a man would go out in a boat in a storm wearing a full set of medieval armor. The answer is, he wouldn’t. Murder is indicated. The first step to solving the problem is discovering the man’s identity and where he came from. Only then can Cubiak discover why he was murdered and who wanted him dead.

Several people, as it happens.

As usual in a Cubiak mystery, we meet many suspicious characters as the story unfolds. Also as we often do, a great many of them have motives and opportunity, and are apt to be unpleasant characters perhaps worthy of murder themselves. It’s up to Cubiak, helped by his loyal deputy, whom with insight and proper sleuthing, gets to the bottom of the knight’s murder.

Always well-written, a good many twists enliven what could’ve been a bit repetitious and slow.

I’d never heard of larping. However, I’ve now learned Live Action Role Playing, in which enthusiasts don costumes and props associated with a particular fantasy world or historical period, and act out the roles of their characters, is very much a thing. So thank you, author Patricia Skalka, for teaching this reader something new.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, July 2021.
http://www.ckcrigger.com
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride,
Hometown Burning and Six Dancing Damsels: A China Bohannon Mystery

Book Review: A Song for the Dark Times by Ian Rankin @Beathhigh @orionbooks @littlebrown

A Song for the Dark Times
An Inspector Rebus Novel #23
Ian Rankin
Orion Books, October 2020 (UK)
ISBN 978-1-4091-7697-8
Little, Brown and Company, October 2020 (US)
Hardcover

Retired Detective John Rebus has just moved one floor down into the ground floor flat in Edinburgh where he’s lived for a number of years.  He has COPD and stairs had become a problem. Detective Inspector Siobhan Clarke, his friend and once his partner in solving crimes, has been helping him move.

Leaving Rebus to unpack,  Siobhan returns to the Leith Police Station to rejoin the Major Incident Team currently working on the murder of a young, rich, Saudi named Salman bin Mahmoud, who was stabbed to death in what might be a hate crime.

Meantime Rebus gets a call from his daughter Samantha, now living in Tongue, 250miles to the north, with her partner Keith and daughter Carrie. Keith has gone missing and Samantha is at her wit’s end. Rebus immediately abandons his unpacking and hops in his car, heading to Tongue.  Sam and Rebus aren’t exactly close due to the fact that during her early years Rebus spent more time cracking cases and catching killers than spending time with his wife and daughter.  Now he sees this as an opportunity to get closer to his daughter and granddaughter.

On his arrival Rebus is met by Detective Sergeant Creasey who is in charge of the missing person case, and who is quick to let Rebus know he won’t tolerate interference.  When Samantha tells her father she’d had a fight with Keith before he disappeared adding that they’d recently been going through a rough patch, Rebus is prepared to do everything he can to track down Keith.  But Sam is fearful her father will only make matters worse.  And when Keith’s body is found, Samantha becomes the prime suspect.

Determined to prove his daughter’s innocence Rebus talks to a group of the locals Keith had become involved with on discovering that a POW camp was once located in the area. Keith had been interviewing several members who had been prisoners at the time and who had opted to stay around once the war was over.

When Rebus gets a call from Siobhan he asks how her murder case is proceeding and learns there might be a connection between the death of the Saudi man and Lord Strathy aka Ramsey Meiklejohn a landowner in Tongue.  Intrigued, Rebus turns his attention to the landowner paying a visit to his stately home.  Lord Strathy isn’t in residence, but when Rebus tries to question the housekeeper,  he’s quickly shown the door, leaving him to wonder if he’s found a fresh trail to follow in search of Keith’s killer.

All is not what it seems in the town of Tongue, and Rebus has his hands full as he pokes into the past to uncover the truth.

I very much enjoyed following Rebus on his latest outing…

Check this one out.… You won’t be disappointed.

Respectfully submitted.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, November 2020.