Wednesday, March 26, 2014

First Chapter Review: Murder in the Library (Book 3 Dekker Cozy Mystery Series) by Steve Demaree

I downloaded this cozy mystery back in February when it was free. The cover drew me in, but what I really liked is that this mystery is set in a library.

BLURB: A man is found murdered in the locked library in his home. Surveillance cameras show that no one other than the deceased entered the library. The deceased left a clue for the police, only they cannot figure out what the clue means.

COVER: Like I already mentioned, the cover is what drew my attention to the book. It's nicely done with the library bookshelves in the background and the blood dripping through the word "Murder."

FIRST CHAPTER: The reader is introduced to Lieutenant Cy Dekker, Sergeant Lou Murdock, and their mentor Colonel James Buckham Hardesty. Dekker and Murdock are semi-retired cops who work homicide investigations. When Cy receives an odd phone call from the Colonel, he decides it's time he and Lou pay their mentor a visit...but not before stopping for lunch at the Blue Moon.

KEEP READING: This opening chapter does nothing more than set the stage for what is to come. A distressed call from a friend, which one can assume leads to murder somewhere down the line. There is no real hook except the anticipation of a murder. It's a good deal of backstory; which is unfortunate, because it doesn't encourage the reader to move forward unless you just have to know who has been murdered.

I enjoyed the first person narration. Cy has his own style that clearly comes through. I'm not sure it's enough to make me want to go on. I'll probably stick with it for another chapter to see if the pace picks up.

File Size: 557 KB
Print Length: 246 pages
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, March 24, 2014

From My TBR Pile: The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

She may be thirty-fifth in line for the throne, but Lady Georgiana Rannoch cannot wait to ring in the New Year—before a Christmas killer wrings another neck…

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me—well, actually, my true love, Darcy O’Mara, is spending a feliz navidad tramping around South America. Meanwhile Mummy is holed up in a tiny village called Tiddleton-under-Lovey with that droll Noel Coward! And I’m snowed in at Castle Rannoch with my bumbling brother, Binky, and sourpuss sister-in-law, Fig.

So it’s a miracle when I contrive to land a position as hostess to a posh holiday party in Tiddleton. The village is like something out of A Christmas Carol! But no sooner have I arrived than a neighborhood nuisance, a fellow named Freddie, falls out of a tree dead. On my second day, another so-called accident results in a death – and there’s yet another on my third. Perhaps a recent prison break could have something to do with it…that, or a long-standing witch’s curse. But after Darcy shows up beneath the mistletoe, anything could be possible in this wicked wonderland.

Includes an English Christmas companion, full of holiday recipes, games, and more!

First sentence:

Castle Rannoch
Perthshire, Scotland
December 14, 1933

Weather: cold, dreary, bleak.
Atmosphere here: cold, dreary, bleak.
Outlook: cold, dreary, bleak. Not in a good mood today. I wonder why. Could it have something to do with the fact that Christmas is coming and it will be utterly bloody?

Ah, Christmas; chestnuts roasting; Yule logs crackling merrily; tables groaning under roast goose, turkey, mince pies and flaming plum puddings; carols and mistletoe; goodwill to all men.

Series: A Royal Spyness Mystery (Book 6)
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (November 5, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425252345
ISBN-13: 978-0425252345

Friday, March 21, 2014

From My TBR Pile: The Execution by Dick Wolf

NYPD Detective Jeremy Fisk—introduced in Law & Order creator Dick Wolf’s New York Times bestselling debut The Intercept—must stop an assassin in the pay of a shadowy cartel in The Execution, a tense thriller that superbly blends suspense, politics, intrigue and high-flying action in the tradition of Vince Flynn, David Baldacci, and Robert Crais.

Ten days after the Mexican presidential election, twenty-three bodies are discovered beheaded on the United States border, each marked with a carving of a Hummingbird. Detective Cecilia Garza of the Mexican intelligence agency recognizes it: it is the signature of an assassin called Chuparosa. Garza has been pursuing the killer for years, yet knows little about him, except that he’s heading to New York—with the rest of the world.

It’s United Nations Week in Manhattan and Jeremy Fisk can’t let grief over a devastating loss keep him from safeguarding his city. Complicating matters is the startling news of a mass murder in nearby Rockaway—and the arrival of a disturbingly beautiful and assertive Mexican cop.

To have a chance at finding Chuparosa, these uneasy allies must learn to work together and fast. As they soon discover, there’s more to this threat than meets the eye—and that justice is not always blind.

First sentence:


January 9
Upstate New York
Half a mile from the Canadian border,
somewhere west of Lake Champlain

The explosive noise of the guns had set off a chain reaction, sheets of wet snow dropping from the limbs of the pine trees surrounding Jeremy Fisk.

Series: Jeremy Fisk Novels (Book 2)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition / First Printing edition (January 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062064851
ISBN-13: 978-0062064851

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Book Spotlight: The Auschwitz Escape: A Novel by Joel C. Rosenberg

A terrible darkness has fallen upon Jacob Weisz's beloved Germany. The Nazi regime, under the leadership of Adolf Hitler, has surged to power and now hold Germany by the throat. All non-Aryans--especially Jews like Jacob and his family--are treated like dogs.When tragedy strikes during one terrible night of violence, Jacob flees and joins rebel forces working to undermine the regime. But after a raid goes horribly wrong, Jacob finds himself in a living nightmare--trapped in a crowded, stinking car on the train to the Auschwitz death camp.As World War II rages and Hitler begins implementing his "final solution" to systematically and ruthlessly exterminate the Jewish people, Jacob must rely on his wits and a God he's not sure he believes in to somehow escape from Auschwitz and alert the world to the Nazi's atrocities before Fascism overtakes all of Europe. The fate of millions hangs in the balance.

Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 18, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414336241
ISBN-13: 978-1414336244

Monday, March 17, 2014

From My TBR Pile: The Intercept by Dick Wolf

Dick Wolf, the celebrated creator of the Law & Order television franchise, makes his literary debut with The Intercept, a taut, driving thriller reminiscent of the classic The Day of the Jackal.

Days before the July Fourth holiday and the dedication of One World Trade Center at Ground Zero, an incident aboard a commercial jet reminds everyone involved that vigilance saves lives.

But New York Police detective Jeremy Fisk—from the department’s Intelligence Division, a well-funded anti-terror unit modeled upon the CIA—suspects that the event is a warning sign that another, potentially more extraordinary scheme has been set in motion. So when a passenger from the same plane disappears into the crowds of Manhattan, it’s up to Fisk and his partner Krina Gersten to find him before the celebrations begin... And time is running out.

First sentence:

Bassam Shah has driven through a day and two nights from Denver, stopping only for gas, eating fried pies, drinking Red Bull, and urinating into a plastic milk jug between gas station fill-ups.

Series: Jeremy Fisk Novels (Book 1)
Mass Market Paperback: 433 pages
Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (May 28, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062068490
ISBN-13: 978-0062068491

Thursday, March 13, 2014

First Chapter Review: Lady Blues: forget-me-not by Aaron Paul Lazar

Lady Blues: forget-me-not is the latest Gus LeGarde mystery from Aaron Paul Lazar.

BLURB: Past and present collide when an Alzheimer’s patient’s fragile memory holds the key to solving mysteries dating back to World War II—including a long lost secret love affair.

Music professor Gus LeGarde is just doing a favor for a friend when he agrees to play piano for church services at a local nursing home. He doesn’t expect to be drawn into a new friendship with an elderly Alzheimer’s patient dubbed “the music man” or to stumble across a decades-old mystery locked inside the man’s mind.

Octogenarian Kip Sterling doesn’t know his own name—but he speaks Gus’s language, spouting jazz terms like “cadence” and “interlude” and “riff.” He’s also obsessed with “his Bella,” but nobody knows who she is.

When Kip is given a new drug called Memorphyl, he starts to remember bits and pieces of his life. Gus learns Bella was Kip’s first and only love, but their relationship was shrouded in scandal. Intrigued, Gus agrees to help search for her. Could she still be alive?

Horrified when the miracle drug suddenly stops working and patients begin to backslide, Gus panics. Can he help Kip find his beloved Bella before all the memories disappear?

COVER: What a neat cover. As you probably remember, I like people on covers, so I'm drawn to this feather-clad jazz singer. The airplane in the top corner speaks to the plot of an unsolved mystery. I also like the blue color and font used for the title.

FIRST CHAPTER: Siegfried and Gus are walking along a New York street when Siegfried's sixth sense kicks into high gear. He takes off at a fast clip with Gus following confusedly behind. They come to a building, the top apartment of which has black smoke streaming from it.

KEEP READING: Absolutely. Like everything else I've read by Lazar, this story captures you quickly and fully. A leisurely walk turns into a race to save lives. Within a few short pages, Lazar's masterful storytelling draws you in to the point you must discover what happens to the people you've only just met. I look forward to reading the rest of this latest Gus LeGarde mystery.

File Size: 443 KB
Print Length: 261 pages
Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
Publisher: Aaron Paul Lazar; 1 edition (March 3, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English

I received a free copy of this book from the author. This review contains my honest opinions, which I have not been compensated for in any way.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

From My TBR Pile: Pearls and Poison by Duffy Brown

It’s election time in Savannah, Georgia, and Judge Guillotine Gloria—aka Reagan Summerside’s mom—is neck and neck in the polls with Kip “Scummy” Seymour. But the already dirty campaign is about to get downright filthy—with one candidate getting buried six feet under…

With her strong opinions and knack for getting into trouble, Reagan is not an ideal volunteer for her mother’s alderman campaign. Plus, she’d rather be running her consignment shop, the Prissy Fox, and eating doughnuts with her dog, Bruce Willis. But when her mother’s opponent, Kip, is found poisoned and her mother is pegged as a suspect, Reagan nominates herself as lead murder investigator.

Reagan is intent on finding Kip’s killer and clearing her mother’s good name, but she soon finds herself on the bad side of Kip’s enemies-turned-suspects. This time, no amount of costumes and makeup can keep her inconspicuous and out of danger. Because the closer Reagan gets to the truth, the hotter things get…

First sentence:

"People are going to hate me if I do this," I said to Auntie Kiki.

Series: A Consignment Shop Mystery (Book 3)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley (March 4, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425252485
ISBN-13: 978-0425252482

Friday, March 7, 2014

From My TBR Pile: Murder as a Fine Art by David Morrell


Thomas De Quincey, infamous for his memoir Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, is the major suspect in a series of ferocious mass murders identical to ones that terrorized London forty-three years earlier.

The blueprint for the killings seems to be De Quincey's essay "On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts." Desperate to clear his name but crippled by opium addiction, De Quincey is aided by his devoted daughter Emily and a pair of determined Scotland Yard detectives.

In Murder as a Fine Art, David Morrell plucks De Quincey, Victorian London, and the Ratcliffe Highway murders from history. Fogbound streets become a battleground between a literary star and a brilliant murderer, whose lives are linked by secrets long buried but never forgotten.

First sentence:

London, 1854

Titian, Rubens, and Van Dyke, it is said, always practiced their art in full dress.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Mulholland Books; First Edition edition (May 7, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316216798
ISBN-13: 978-0316216791

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Free Kindle Mystery: The Accidental Hero (A Digital Short) by Joshua Graham

A ruthless hitman confronts his destiny in a startling tale of redemption.

File Size: 278 KB
Print Length: 41 pages
Publisher: Dawn Treader Press (November 12, 2010)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B004C44556

Monday, March 3, 2014

Free Kindle Mystery: Murder in the South of France by Susan Kiernan-Lewis

TOTALLY REVISED, UPDATED EDITION! Maggie Newberry is sheltered, privileged but also a whip-smart advertising copywriter who's fast on her feet and a little stunned to realize that she's 32 years old and still hasn't found "the one." When her long-missing sister ends up dead, Maggie flies to the south of France to find the little niece that no one in the family even knew existed. Along the way, she finds handsome Laurent Dernier, a sexy if nefarious Frenchman who it's not clear is there to help or hinder Maggie's search for the girl. Meanwhile, her sister's murderer sets his sights on the little girl--and Maggie.

File Size: 546 KB
Print Length: 326 pages
Publisher: San Marco Press; 2 edition (January 1, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English