A Peter O’Keefe Novel #1
Arjuna Books, February 2019
Fraud, scams, a Ponzi scheme, magnificent scenery, murder, sex, drinking, drugs and assorted violence form the structure and content of this novel, a morass of failed relationships and get rich quick efforts.
Pete O’Keefe is a former marine, veteran of the war in Viet Nam. He drinks too much, avoids drugs, and struggles to maintain a relationship with his young daughter after being divorced. He runs a PI agency that works mostly in non-violence contexts, but things are not going all that smoothly.
When two investors in a down-country mink farm develop suspicions about the operation they turn to O’Keefe’s long-time buddy, a successful attorney who frequently hires O’Keefe’s detective agency and its cadre of part and full-time operatives.
O’Keefe agrees to look into the mink farm operation and the game is on. Apart from periodic discursions into philosophical ruminations, the author moves the story along at a good pace, but this is not high-tension thriller territory until we get to the last quarter of the novel. O’Keefe is an adept, mostly careful, ethical detective. He does his homework, listens to classical music, and ruminates on the ills and evils of the world.
There are a few bumps in the narrative, point of view shifts and some questionable grammatical constructions. Still, the novel is an interesting take on the somewhat troubled life of this vet and his efforts to get things right, maintain a positive relationship with his daughter, while solving crimes and presenting an interesting look at life.
A Slaying Song Tonight
My Own Ship Press, September 2019
Set in 1932, Susannah Lou Packard is on trial for the murder of a state representative, the son of a state senator who she murdered several years previously for which she is now serving a life sentence. Nancy Lou Remington, a young reporter for a local newspaper, having talked her editor into letting her interview Packard, visits her in the prison where she is being held to try and uncover the details of Packard’s vicious crimes. The woman Nancy finds is not at all what she expected but after a few opening skirmishes, driven by Packard’s need to establish who is in charge, they begin talking. The first thing Packard does is set some ground rules including that she will tell Nancy her whole story uninterrupted and Nancy can ask her questions only after she is done. She also extracts Nancy’s promise not to talk to any of her family until the story is complete. Reluctantly, Nancy agrees because she really wants the story and she feels that if she can get to Packard’s motives, a potential Pulitzer Prize may be in her future.
As the story unfolds, Nancy is drawn more and more into Packard’s life as Packard tells her that the two murders Packard admitted to committing are not her only crimes. Nancy soon fills several notebooks with details of Packard’s crimes but is left to wonder at some discrepancies that creep into the stories. But whenever Nancy tries to explore those, Packard insists that Nancy keep to the deal she made – no questions until she is finished. Eventually Packard’s trial and her stories come to an end at which point Nancy visits Packard’s sister who helps clear up some of the discrepancies with information that astonishes Nancy.
In A Slaying Song Tonight, Stewart has painted a detailed portrait of a woman obsessed with killing and with making sure that the details of her chilling crimes are told. For those who are not completely freaked out by serial killer stories I think you will find this book and the mind of a murderer fascinating.
Reviewed by Melinda Drew, January 2021.
See the girl in the trees. Catch her if you can.
Several centuries ago, a group of ecologists escaped the breakdown of a society ravaged by climate change by vanishing into giant, genetically engineered forests in the North American west. Dwelling among vast canopies that hover several thousand feet above the earth, their descendants fear the cannibals roaming far beneath them and cling to the teachings of their sacred text, The Book of Silvanus.
Sixteen year-old Ostrya considers it a burden to train as the canopy’s next doctor. But her life’s work has been preordained—and she’s desperate to reclaim her mother’s love. When a cataclysmic storm wracks the canopy, Ostrya begins to face her doubts about the teachings of the book and the laws of the canopy. If she is to survive, she will have to decide if her destiny is in the treetops or on the forest floor…
D.M. Darroch is the author of the Inventor-in-Training series as well as other speculative fiction stories. Her books weave together nature and science with adventure and often a touch of humor. Danelle lives in Washington State, USA and enjoys long walks in the forest. Her website is: https://www.dmdarroch.com.
Tour created by YA Bound Book Tours
Title: Six Days of Memories
Author: Stacy Eaton
Narrator: Rebecca Ehrenpreis
Publication Date: June 15, 2020
Genres: Mystery, Police Procedural
From the author—
Detective Natasha Foster will put her job on the line to prove her gut feeling is dead-on.
When Detective Foster responds to the scene of a crash, she finds the female passenger dead, a bag full of money in the back seat and a body in the trunk. It is only when the driver, whom she nicknames Jay, wakes up with no memory that she must go with her instincts and continue the investigation in a way that was never taught.
Jay finds himself lost, but drawn to the beautiful detective who steps above and beyond the call of duty. His need to know if he was a victim or the criminal pushes him to try and recall what happened and who he is. With the pull of a trigger, Jay’s memory will suddenly return and with it, the terrible truth.
Picking up a book labeled as romantic suspense can be a perilous adventure because you never know whether the emphasis will be on the romance or the mystery/suspense side. In this case, Six Days of Memories is decidedly heavy on the romance and pretty light on suspense.
I liked the way Ms. Eaton tells the story through the point of view of both Natasha and Jay and, from the beginning, we’re led down several paths because Jay’s amnesia causes so much questioning of circumstances and learning the truth about the two dead women and all the cash proves to be difficult. At the heart of the investigation—is Jay a criminal or a victim or, perhaps, something in between? And can Natasha trust her instincts this time?
There were a few things that I found less than enthralling including a sex/massage scene that’s a bit more graphic than I like and some noticeable weaknesses in police procedure but, more than that, Natasha’s behavior when she first meets Jay is really inappropriate and inexplicable, behavior that brings into question whether she can do her job as expected. In fact, I think it’s probably grounds for being removed from the case in a real life situation.
As for the narration, I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, Ms. Ehrenpreis has a very clear tone that’s easy to understand and there were only a few times when I personally disagreed with the way she pronounced specific words; I expect that sort of thing to happen. Beyond that, though, her narration sounded kind of stilted to me, as though she was reading the words on the page for the first time and so her emphasis on certain phrases and words just wasn’t quite the way a person would normally speak. That aside, I thought she performed well enough and I would definitely be willing to hear more books narrated by Ms. Ehrenpreis.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, January 2021.
Stacy Eaton is a USA Today Best Selling author and began her writing career in October of 2010. Stacy took an early retirement from law enforcement after over fifteen years of service in 2016, with her last three years in investigations and crime scene investigation to write full time.
Stacy resides in southeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, who works in law enforcement, and her teen daughter. She also has a son who is currently serving in the United States Navy, and two grandchildren.
Stacy is involved in Domestic Violence Awareness and served on the Board of Directors for her local Domestic Violence Center for three years.
Be sure to visit www.stacyeaton.com for updates and more information on her books.
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Rebecca is a Full Time Vibrant and Versatile Audiobook Narrator. With her distinctive voice and multitude of character voices, Rebecca will bring stories to life. She has a professional home studio and will produce high quality audiobooks.
Her voice is caring, insightful, and honest.
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A Litter of Bones
A DCI Jack Logan Novel #1
Zertex Crime, April 2019
There are eight books in the series – and to date I have read four of them. I bought them for my Kindle as they were all reasonably priced ( Book 8 is due out in a few weeks) and all are around 300 pages in length.
I’ve read the first four to date….and really enjoyed them all…. They are set in Scotland, in and around Fort William and Inverness. I’m originally from Scotland and relatively familiar with the area so that struck a chord with me. Jack Logan is a great character. He’s a Detective Chief Inspector, big, brawny and not to be trifled with. He was married and he has a daughter… but his work has taken precedence at the cost of his marriage.
A Litter of Bones is the first book in the series.
When a young boy goes missing in the Scottish Highlands DCI Logan is sent to take the lead in the case due to the fact that he’d recently had success in apprehending and prosecuting a man who’d kidnapped and killed several children. But when similarities to the previous missing children’s cases surface, it isn’t long before the local press begin to question whether DCI Logan had arrested and charged the wrong man.
Logan has his own misgivings but pushes his colleagues to their limit determined to find the missing boy alive. When one of his Detectives is attacked while checking out an abandoned house and forensics later find indications that the missing boy was indeed being held there…the tension quickly escalates, as hopes of finding the missing boy alive slowly diminish.
I enjoyed getting to know DCI Logan and the local detectives and police. The race to catch the kidnapper kept me eagerly turning pages. I highly recommend this book and the next three in the series… JD Kirk is the pen name of Barry Hutchison who has written a number of children’s books and as he puts it ‘is meantime enjoying murdering people’ in this mystery series.
Check them out! You’ll be glad you did!
Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, September 2020.