Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Catching Heat - A Review




Catching Heat

Catching Heat.jpg

by
Janice Cantore

A Review

A well-written mystery that depends too heavily on the previous book in the series, Catching Heat is a mystery in it's own right that also continues the story of the deaths of Detective Abby Hart's parents. A story that began in earlier books in a series starting in May 2015.

That is the biggest problem with these books - the secondary story with each book depends on facts and events disclosed in earlier books. As I suggested in earlier reviews for the books from this series, get all three and read them in sequence.

The primary story is involved and quickly draws the reader into its world. I would not want to be the criminal in Detective Hart's and her cold case team's sight. I could not run fast enough or far enough to escape their grasp. They are great cops when working independently; but when working as a team, they will get their target.

With it's hint of faith, the book will appeal to the Christian reader. Written by a former cop with experience in the field, the story has the realism needed to attract an even broader audience. Though no suggestion is made, it would be fun to find more books in the Cold Case Justice series.
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Murder in G Major - A Review




Murder in G Major.jpg


A Review


Gethsemane is a lost soul. She has lost her job, her fiance had a mistress, and the ghost in her current home is convinced that he was not guilty of his wife’s murder or of his own suicide. Too make matters worse, she had six weeks to turn St. Brennan’s all male, middle school, orchestra into a championship team that must win the 75th Annual All-County School Orchestra Competition - an award they had not won since the inaugural competition - if the school was to get the grant they needed to rebuild their music performance hall and Gethsemane Brown was to keep her job.


Though my description of the story above may sound convoluted, the author has done a very competent job of weaving the various threads into an enjoyable story that is neither boring nor simplistic. Additional murders accumulate like a rock collector gathers rocks.  And, like in any well-written cozy mystery, the problems are all resolved.


Except, as the final page is read, the reader is left unsure if Gethsemane Brown will keep her current job, we do not know what has happened to the friendly ghost that occupied her home, and what can we say about Frank, the math teacher, and Inspector O’Reilly, the local cold case squad?   


As a maestra with talent, whose career seemed to about take off, Gethsemane Brown is ready for the big time. When she finds that the boyfriend who recruited her to conduct a major orchestra is already committed to his mistress, she finds herself stuck - stuck in a small, Irish, boys, school - for which she is neither trained or equipped. But with the help of “Irish”, the ghost, she begins to move forward, both as she builds relationships with her students and as she solves the mystery surrounding the deaths of her ghost and his wife.


A great Halloween read, Murder in G Major will fill some the space between labor day and Thanksgiving (USA), which may also introduce the reader some unknown (at least to him or her) classical music that might make a great play list on Pandora. And after reading the current book, the reader will be wanting more and more of Gethsemane Brown and the kooky townspeople of Dunmullach, Ireland.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency: A Spoon Too Short - A Review




Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
A Spoon Too Short
Dirk Gently.jpg
by
Author: Arvind Ethan David
Artist: Ilias Kyriazis

A Review

It was just a few weeks ago that I first met Dirk Gently via the BBC television series being streamed on Acorn.TV.  The stories originated in book form were written by Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame.

At about the same time I stumbled on this graphic novel featuring the self same private eye, Dirk Gently.  The current case take Dirk to Africa where he finds visitors and members of an isolated village have lost the ability to communicate. Finding the solution to the current crisis will take all the holistic know how that Dirk can muster.

The graphic novel echos much of the same humor found in the TV shows - a bit of science, science fiction, and nonsense, merge together to make for an interesting tale. Dirk is not a reincarnation of Sherlock Holmes, but he does manage to follow the clues to a logical (or is it illogical) conclusion. For the fan of Douglas Adams, British mysteries, or British comedy, the series represented by “A Spoon Too Short” may fill the bill nicely - especially on a cold winter night.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Treason - A Review





Treason.jpg



A Review


Some books I look forward to reading. Others I figure I will give a try, but do not expect much. And there are some that I choose to review, but really expected to be disappointed. This was one of those. I was wrong.


The second book of a series coming from these authors, the book stood relatively well as a stand alone novel. The few parts dependent on the earlier book were written into the text not leaving the author in the dust.


Beginning with an attempted (actually two attempts) assassination of the US President, Major Brook Grant is drawn into a treasonous attempt to take down the American government. The evidence mounts up in the hallways of Congress, in the Washington DC metropolitan area, and in the dry heat of the Middle East. Neither the protagonists or their families are safe from the deadly plans of the Falcon, the moniker of terrorist associated with the Islamic State.


The book if a political lesson in how different Americans view the Islamic threats seen around the world. Characters in the book represent several of the view expressed in the daily news - some totally committed to keeping Islam and its terrorist leanings from American soil, some committed to the freedom of speech that allows this same terrorism to co-exist in the American culture, and others who understand that freedom mean letting those we disagree with live in peace within the same space we occupy. Answers are not provided, but the book does provide a door to communication.


Surprisingly, though the book is not an openly Christian book, I would think it could easily be found on the book lists of some major Christian publishers. Faith plays a positive role in the lives of characters as they develop throughout the story. Thus, the Christian reader may find themselves satisfied with the story as it continues to develop in the next book of the series - drawing in the political power of a deadly North Korean government.


My only disappointment in the book was the occasional writing style which at times seemed more like a seventh grader’s writing using short, staccato like sentences. The author moved in and out of this mode and did not leave this reader feeling too disappointed, though this writing style showed itself two or three times early in the book.


For the reader looking for a political thriller, a terroristic drama, or good solid summer read, TREASON may just be what the doctor ordered.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Other People's Baggage - A Review

Other People’s Baggage


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by
Kendel Lynn, Gigi Pandian
& Diane Vallere


A Review


Three stories for the price of one from two of my favorite authors and one new one make for a good deal. The stories have nothing in common - except for the lost luggage that belong to the main characters of the other stories. Together they form a trio of exciting novellas that prepare the reader to enjoy the longer novels that provide sequels to three stories provide here.


Each story is about a third of the length of a regular novel - though I was familiar with three of the authors, none of the three stood out as being great, but they each were enjoyable in their own right. I felt lucky to have the opportunity to review the book/stories.


The stories, being prequels to earlier published books, can be read as stand alone stories or they can be read later in the sequence, helping the reader to understand some of the events that brought the character into the situations we find in the corresponding novels. I enjoyed the break from reading novel after novel - reading these shorter works were a nice break from my usual fare.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Deadly Encounter - A Review






Deadly Encounter


by
DiAnn Mills

A Review

There are a number of things that draw me into a fiction book.  A number of them are obvious: the quality of writing, the realism of the characters, the well designed setting of the story. One of the less obvious characteristics of a fictional story that I appreciate is its use of historical or real life settings that I call for me to search even deeper into the history or setting using Google or other internet resources.

Deadly Encounter was such a book.  My attention was drawn to a Google search before I finished page 1 of the book: “Who or what are the Houston Airport Rangers?” The book did answer the question a few pages in, but I found myself in Google within minutes of starting the book.  Sadly, Google provided little more details than the book - but enough to get me further into the book while I waited for the author to offer more own description.

The book dealt with themes that have attracted me in the past - Addiction/dysfunctional families, terrorism, and romance (but not too much). Mixing these themes with an underlying Christian faith, and we have a story that is both exciting and satisfying. We see individual’s faith being challenged and growing. We see faith being lived out. We also see the various conflicts that must be faced by modern law enforcement as they face the 21st century culture found in the USA.

Looking for a book with a positive Christian focus, with the right blend of suspense, danger, and romance? Deadly Encounter may be that book.   
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This review is based on a free copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The Witnesses - A Review






Witnesses.jpg




A Review


Some authors catch a readers attention. Robert Whitlow has caught mine. I try to read as many of his books as I can, though I have missed a few. Here is an author that is trained as a lawyer, has the faith of a committed Christian, and has been compared, favorably. as an author to John Grisham. And he continues to succeed at his craft.


The Witnesses is proof of that fact.


Franz Haus, as he was called by his parents. or Frank House, as his family and friends know him now, has a long history.  He joined the German army near the start of World War II. He had a good intuition that often provided solid advice to General Berg, intuition that would allow him to meet and sit with some of the highest leaders in the German army, intuition that force him to see more atrocities committed in the name of Germany than he wanted to admit - to himself or to those who knew him best.


Frank House (nee Franz Haus) deserted the German Army  through  Switzerland (where he lived out the remaining months of the war) and eventually settled in New Bern, North Carolina; but when he did, he left with a secret that others were willing to kill for. A secret that would put both his own life and the life of his grandson in danger.


As always, Robert Whitlow has managed to draw together the brokeness of life, the drama of the legal system, and the role of faith into a readable novel that will appeal to both the believer and non-believer. It gives a glimpse of how faith can and does work in the life of men and women of faith.
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This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review.  The opinions expressed are my own.