Review: Lousiana Longshot by Jana DeLeon

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000031_00001]The Particulars: Mystery, selfpublished, available as e-book and in print
The Source: Purchased at Kobo
The Grade: C
The blurb:

It was a hell of a longshot…

CIA Assassin Fortune Redding is about to undertake her most difficult mission ever–in Sinful, Louisiana.

With a leak at the CIA and a price on her head by one of the world’s largest arms dealers, Fortune has to go off grid, but she never expected to be this far out of her element. Posing as a former beauty queen turned librarian in a small, bayou town seems worse than death to Fortune, but she’s determined to fly below the radar until her boss finds the leak and puts the arms dealer out of play.

Unfortunately, she hasn’t even unpacked a suitcase before her newly-inherited dog digs up a human bone in her backyard. Thrust into the middle of a bayou murder mystery, Fortune teams up with a couple of seemingly-sweet old ladies whose looks completely belie their hold on the little town. To top things off, the handsome local deputy is asking her too many questions. If she’s not careful, this investigation may blow her cover and get her killed.

Armed with her considerable skills and a group of old ladies referred to by locals as The Geritol Mafia, Fortune has no choice but to solve the murder before it’s too late


The Review:

I like Jana Deleon’s mystery novels, so when this one was on sale recently. I bought it. After reading it, it was just like I expected a Jana Deleon book to be. A small town in the bayou, filled to the brim with quirky characters.

I liked Fortune, and her struggle to adjust to small town life, and hiding the fact that she wasn’t Sandy-Sue Morrow. The characters she met was interesting, from Ida Belle and Gertie,who knew exactly what they wanted, to Carter Leblanc, the sheriff Deputy that she butted heads with through the book.

Fortune’s, Gertie’s and Ida Belle’s search for Marie was interesting. As the search was thorough, and I’ll admit that there was times that my mind boggled over the casual way Ida Belle and Gertie had towards the law. But it also gave a glimpse of the power the Sinful Ladies Society had in the town. I really appreciated how the history and the secrets was slowly revealed, and how they created an additional depth in the characters.

The biggest problem I had with this book was that I felt I had read it before. In the end, there is only so many times you can write about small Bayou towns, filled with zany characters who have a flexible views of the law. So while I liked it, I didn’t love it. Despite this, I’ll probably buy the next book, just to get more of Fortune, Gertie and Ida Belle.

Review: Strong Poison by Dorothy Sayers

Strong Poison: A Lord Peter Wimsey Mystery with Harriet Vane

The Particulars: Mystery,Harper Collins, available as e-book and in print

The Source: The Bookshelf
The Grade: B-
The Blurb:

The classic mystery that first featured Harriet Vane, companion sleuth to the dashing, perennially popular private investigator Lord Peter Wimsey, from the writer widely considered the greatest mystery novelist of the Golden Age—Dorothy L. Sayers.

Mystery novelist Harriet Vane knew all about poisons, and when her fiancé died in the manner prescribed in one of her books, a jury of her peers had a hangman’s noose in mind. But Lord Peter Wimsey was determined to prove her innocent—as determined as he was to make her his wife.

The Review:
What do you do when you discover that you have forgotten to transcribe the review of The Nine taylors by Dorothy Sayers that you wrote last week? You read another Dorothy Sayers novel. Even if both of them is written by Dorothy Sayers, they are very different. This one, is lighter and there are no corpses in it. Maybe that’s why it is one of my favorite Lord Peter Wimsey novels. This is the first book about Lord Peter and Harriet Vane.
The setting felt believable. I liked how the Courtroom was described, and how longwinded judges could be. It was also intresting to see the contrast between working women, and the Society Circles that Peter Wimsey was a part of. I liked to get a glimpse of how the life was for a secretary, and how much they noticed in their work. Although there was a lot of snooping involved-
The mystery plot was well crafted, and with some unexpected twists. I really liked reading about how Lord Peter fought against the clock to free Harriet Vane from the suspicion that she killed her lover, Philip Boyle. But even if Lord Peter is a witty and sophisticated amateur detective, he couldn’t have solved the mystery alonr. I really liked he recruited Bunter, Ms Murchinson and Ms Climpson to figure the motive, and who the real killer was. I also appreciated that he acknowledged their help. Another thing that I enjoyed was the start of the romance between Lord Peter and Harriet. Even if it is clear that it moves slow.
The Biggest problem I had with this book was that it was a bit dated.  As a result, I found myself skimming parts of it ( For example: The first 10 pages are basically an recount of what had happened).

Review: Capable of Murder by Brian Kavanagh

The Particulars: Mystery, Be Write Books, available in print and e-book.
The Source: Won in a giveaway
The Grade: C+
The Blurb:
The old lady’s decaying body lay at the foot of the stairs. The police believe it was simply an accidental fall that killed great-aunt Jane. But was it? Young Australian, Belinda Lawrence is convinced it was murder and when she inherits her great-aunt’s ancient cottage and garden on the outskirts of Bath, England, she finds herself deep in a taut mystery surrounding her legacy. A secret room. Unknown intruders. A hidden ancient document. They all contribute to the mounting dread. A second vicious murder by a ruthless killer intensifies the tension and Belinda, now under threat herself, is befriended by two charming men: her neighbour Jacob and real-estate agent Mark Sallinger. But can she trust them? And what interest has befuddled antique dealer Hazel Whitby in the cottage? Could one of them be the killer? An excellent example of a time-honoured English village murder mystery with a lively young heroine pitting her intellect against an evil killer, both bent on solving the riddle of an ancient garden. An inventive puzzle glazed with wit and the first of the Belinda Lawrence series.
The Review:
I won this in a giveaway, almost a year ago. But it took a long time before I actually read it.
This is a cozy mystery, set in the small village of Milford. The setting was very detailed and believable. Both when it came to the history of the houses, and the attitude of the villagers to accept a newcomer.
The mystery was intriguing and well written. I loved how Belinda gradually started to investigate the murder of her Great Aunt- It was intresting to see how her relationship with her neighbours developed through the novel. What I enjoyed was how things gradually got more and more complicated as the story went on, and the more I read I wanted to know about the history of the house.
From the first page to roughly half way into the mystery, I thought this story took place somewere between 1960-80. And then…. a minor character picked up a cellphone. I wish she hadn’t since everything else about the story felt like one of the classic mysteries from the 30’s.
Still, it was well written and I enjoyed it.

Painted Truth by Lise McClendon

The Particulars: Mystery, Smashwords, e-book
The Source: Purchased at Smashwords.
The Grade: B-
The Blurb:
Alix Thorssen’s partnership with sexy Paolo Segundo is at a crossroads. When another gallery on the town square burns, revealing the body of a famous artist, she is drawn into the investigation as an appraiser of the lost paintings. Ray Tantro was a has-been at 30 but was on the verge of a comeback. Why would he commit suicide? Why are the police so quick to dismiss foul play? The investigation makes her confront her own contradictions as an art lover, turning everything she knows upside down. She must examine her ethics and even her way of life to find the truth, and justice.
But not without a very high price.

The Review:
This is another book that have remained unread for awhile, before I got around to read it. ( Ok, I forgot add it to Calibre.) It was also a book that didn’t hook me immediately.  The setting was quaint, and I liked the characters, but it took me awhile anyway.  

I think it has to do with the fact that Lise McClendon took her time building the stakes.   As they increased, the illusion that small towns are nice faded.  Fast.  In fact, I think I’ll never view small towns as quaint and cozy again.

But what made the book for me was Alix.  Alix is stubborn, curious. Some times too curious for her own good. Does she doubt the wisdom of continuing the investigation? Hell yes.  Who wouldn’t when  the bodycount stacks?    

I felt for Alix when everything started to collapsing around her. Her friends abandoning her, the police hounding her. 

So what I didn’t like about this book.   First, I had trouble caring about the characters, that and the stakes problem were probably the cause of the problem I had with first half of the book.  Second, there were typos. Not a lot, and easy to fix but it was a bit annoying.

In the end, I liked the book and I intend to read more books by Lise McClendon in the future.

Review: A cold day for murder by Dana Stabenow

The particulars: e-book, mystery, backlist.
Grade: C
The blurb:
Somewhere in the hinterlands of Alaska, among the millions of sprawling acres that comprise Park,a young National Park Ranger has gone missing. When the detective sent after him also vanishes, the Anchorage DA department must turn to their reluctant former investigator, Kate Shugak. Shugak knows The Park because she is of The Park, an Aleut who left her home village of Niniltna to pursue education, a career, and the righting of wrongs. Kate’s search for the missing men will take her from self-imposed exile back to a life shehad left behind, and face-to-face with people and problems she’d hoped never to confront again.

The first novel in the popular Kate Shugak Series, A Cold Day for Murder established Dana Stabenow as a new voice in Alaskan mystery writing, and earned her an Edgar Award

The review:
What I liked:
I downloaded this several months ago since it was free and had won a Edgar Award. I didn’t read it until now. I must say, that I am having a lot of mixed feelings about this book. It is set in a small, remote Alaskan town surrounded by national park that is unexploited. The story starts out slow, and it takes 30-40 pages before it picks up pace. ( Honestly, there were several times when I was about to stop reading). But I liked Kate Shugak, and I wanted to know the solution to the murder mystery. So, I kept reading about how she visited her friend and family, trying to find clues. For a long time, I felt that she was fumbling in the dark. She grew on me, and I laughed when she ripped Jack a new one. In my eyes he deserved it, and she needed it.
I must admit that the end took me by surprise, but it made sense in a way.
What I didn’t like:
The thing that bothered me the most was the description. There were long paragraphs describing how the wilderness looked like. And, that’s it. There were no foreshadowing, they didn’t add anything to the plot. Except padding the book.
And the characters. All of them were excentric in some way. I didn’t have any problems keeping the main characters apart, but I got confused about a couple of the side characters.
An promising novel set in an interesting setting. I will probably get the next one since this was Dana Stabenow’s first novel.

Review: Evil Genius by Patricia Rice

Evil GeniusEvil Genius by Patricia Rice

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Particulars: Evil Genius by Patricia Rice, e-book, mystery.
The Review:

The Blurb:
Anastasia Devlin has the instincts of a chameleon, but what she really wants is to provide her siblings with the security of the home she’s been denied. Her grandfather dies and his mansion is usurped by a stranger. If murder hasn’t already been committed, she might perpetrate one herself—starting with the annoying spy in the attic. The threads of three mysteries twine together, and someone wants to cut the cord before Ana finds the answers.

My impressions:
I discovered that Patricia Rice had released a new e-book purely by coincidence. The blurb sounded interesting, so I bought it. Patricia Rice is best known for her romance novels, filled with charming characters. This one isn’t a romance, it is a mystery novel.
It is about family, and family secrets. The characters fascinated me, with their depth, secrets and humor. I especially liked that every character was there because they moved the plot forward.
As I read this book, the similarity to Jennifer Crusie struck me several times. Is it better than a Jennifer Crusie novel? Read it and decide for yourself. All I hope , is that Patricia Rice writes some more books about Ana and her family. 10 or so should be enough….

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