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Murder, She Wrote: A Date with Murder by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain and Jon Land

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Broken Chord: A Music Row Mystery by Alice A. Jackson

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Shortcut (The Cut Series Book 2) by Arnold Eslava-Grunwaldt

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Shortcut (The Cut Series Book 2) by Arnold Eslava-Grunwaldt

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

ShortcutA road less taken leads to murder and a lot more in Short Cut, the newest addition to Arnold Eslava-Grunwaldt’s thrilling, Cut crime fiction series.

As the second book in this compelling crime drama series, the book does well with furthering the story of the Hamilcar Ham Hitchcock and his squad of dedicated detectives from the Yonkers police department, as they are once again called into action to investigate when death rears its head in Yonkers.

Continuing his tradition of remarkably written crime fiction populated with varied characters that are complex, consistent, well-developed, and still fascinating, author Grunwaldt brings readers another truly compelling read. The suspense begins to build immediately when detective sergeant Hitchcock and the Yonkers general assignment team start out investigating not one but two deaths each initially seemingly coincidentally consecutive but unrelated. Things begin with Detective Hamilcar Hitchcock being called to the scene of a newly discovered body; that of seventeen year old Jenny Franklin who took a shortcut on her way home which unfortunately proved fatal. Meanwhile, as Ham and the team are enmeshed in the throes of investigating the death of the Franklin girl another body is discovered; however, there are obvious evidentiary elements that give the appearance that this death could be an accident. However, the story grows in suspense-filled complexity as deliciously plotted twists and turns, and additional deaths, artfully present the possibility that something more sinister may be at work. With few viable leads, multiple potential suspects and bizarre pieces of evidence, Ham and his team have their work cut out for them as they struggle to get to the truth of both deaths.

Broken Chord: A Music Row Mystery by Alice A. Jackson

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

Broken ChordAlice A. Jackson’s Broken Chord: A Music Row Mystery, offers a compelling collaboration of love betrayal, passion, intrigue, and murder set in Nashville’s famous Music Row.

Captivating from the outset, we meet relatable protagonist, the beautiful but middle aged-beleaguered, Sarah Ann Boswell. She finds herself beset by the throes of a middle of her life crisis, when not only does she turn fifty years old, loses her husband to unfaithfulness and divorce, and feels largely ignored by her children, as well as finding herself unceremoniously fired from her job. At a loss for direction or self-esteem, Sarah Ann does the unthinkable and tries to take her own life; nevertheless she survives with the staunch love and support of her long time friends, her prayer group.

While hospitalized Sarah Ann meets godsend, the savvy, smart and talented, Jill Edgerton, who offers her the promise of a renewed life with an offer to join Edgerton Group, her Nashville based talent management firm. Accepting the offer, Sarah Ann embarks on a new and happier journey through life and into the alluringly lucrative world of the country music business. They strike country music gold with the advent of newly discovered artist Jared Parson. Although he’s handsome, talented, and virile he also seems to harbor a secretive side. Besides turning out to be a cash cow for Edgerton group, Jared also starts to cause a divide between partners Sarah Ann and Jill, as an illicit relationship forms between him and Jill. Moreover, events take a turn for the twisted and mysterious when Jill Edgerton is found murdered, leading to an investigation focusing on multiple, possible suspects including Sarah Ann.

Murder, She Wrote: A Date with Murder by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain and Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

A Date with MurderThere are few brands with better name recognition than MURDER, SHE WROTE and, arguably,no sleuth better known than Jessica Fletcher. The fabulously successful television show, featuring Angela Lansbury, was a huge hit and spawned a book series that rested in the able hands of Don Bain for 46 titles.

Following Bain’s passing last year, thriller author Jon Land stepped into his shoes and his first effort joining forces with the fictional Jessica, A Date with Murder, is a spectacular success. Lending a harder edge to an established formula has the dual effect of keeping things cozy, while at the same time making the series feel more fresh and contemporary.

Look no further than Jessica’s uncovering a nefarious Internet dating site as responsible for a trusted friend’s murder as a prime example of just that. Following Jessica’s relentless crusade which brings her into the netherworld of the worldwide web made for great fun, especially when she ultimately poses as a lonely dowager herself to flesh out the murderous manipulators associated with the aptly named Love Is Yours.com.

Learn American Sign Language

Written by Nancy

Why learn American Sign Language? Did you know that ASL is one of the most popular languages studied at colleges in the United States. Each country has its own form of sign language. That is why it is called American Sign Language in the United Sates. Even though it is called American Sign Language, I did not know that sign language is different in other countries.

If you are interested in learning American Sign Language, click here for the recommended books.

Nancy Drew Books

Article written by Nancy Eaton

Why did you read a Nancy Drew book when you were a young child? Maybe because it was the thing to do back then or maybe it was because you loved a good mystery!

I know when I was about 7, my interest really grew in the Nancy Drew mysteries. I could not wait for the next book to be released. I knew it was going to be an interesting story, with characters that I liked and best of all a mystery that I wanted to help solve.

A person as young as 7 could start reading the Nancy Drew books. The first 56 Nancy Drew books are considered to be the Nancy Drew classic books.

Nancy Drew books are very popular all over the world and have been translated into many different languages.

Click here to see my list of Nancy Drew books.

Best Classic Books for Teens

Written by Nancy Eaton

What is the definition of a classic book? A classic book is one that has stood the test of time. A classic book so one that people will talk about when the get together. A classic book is one where the characters come across to the reader as genuine. A classic book is one where the characters are in situations or live in circumstances that are believable. A classic book is one that people do not read only once but go back and read it again.

I’m sure many of us can remember when we were a teen and a teacher would recommend a book for us to read. Most likely, that book was a classic at the time or it turned out to be a classic in years to come. Many of us might have had a recommendation from our parents about a classic book that they have read. This recommendation could go on from generation to generation because classic books never fade away. If anything, they become more popular over the years. One example I can think of is To Kill a Mocking Bird. I know this title was mentioned when I was a teen and it is still very popular today.

Listed below is my recommended list of top 10 classic books for teens:

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The setting for this book is in Alabama. A lawyer defends a black man accused of raping a white woman. How can he possibly get a fair trial?

    Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

A coming of age story about four sisters. The story follows them through adulthood.

    Pride and Prejudice by Anne Austen

Elizabeth Bennett is very independent and one of five sisters. She has to marry someone rich and this results in an interesting courtship.

    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Read about the adventures of a young boy who travels down the river with a runaway slave.

    Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Two young people fall in love and end up dying because of their love.

    Tale of Two Cities by James Butler

This novel is set in London and Paris during and after the French Revolution.

    The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

A young girl flees her home and goes into hiding during Nazi occupation.

    Lord of the Flies by William Golding

A group of schoolboys are stranded on a deserted island after a plane wreck.

    Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

A young boy is an orphan and struggles with poverty.

    The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

This is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his continuing battle with a giant marlin.

For more information on these books or to order any of them, click here.

Just by looking at these titles, I have rekindled by own interest in these classics. I am going to go back and read these classic books once again.

The Fallen (Memory Man series) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The FallenAmos Decker, the Memory Man, is back in a new story but using many of his previous attributes as he goes about solving crimes. In this one, however, he does have some different kinds of problems with his fabulous memory. If you have read any of Amos’s previous stories you know he has a fantastic memory and though it gives him problems at times it is usually a great tool for an FBI agent to have.

This time he and Alex Jamison, his FBI partner, take a vacation to a small rust-belt town called Baronville to visit Alex’s sister’s family. While there they not only discover there are some major problems in the small town but invariably they get involved in working out some of the problems. It seems as though at one time a guy named Baron owned the town and was unliked by most residents. He supposedly left a fortune somewhere when he died but no one has ever been able to find it.

Now his last descendant lives in the old dilapidated mansion and he too is unliked by most everyone as they feel (a) he is a Baron which is reason enough to hate him and (b) he may know where the fortune is hidden.

The Last Stand by Mickey Spillane

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Having been a Mickey Spillane fan back in the 40s and 50s I was looking forward to The Last Stand when I read about how the manuscript supposedly was found in good condition and ready to be published. I feel certain that there was some work done to it by Max Collins who wrote the introduction.

Overall the book is pretty good but not exactly what I expected. To begin with it is in fact two separate stories. The first one, A Bullet for Satisfaction, is a Spillane type and basically centers around a police officer, Captain Dexter, who is heading up an investigation into the killing of a major political figure. Dexter and his partner, Fred Jenkins, begin digging into the case and find several attorneys who are politically active seem to have had some encounters with Mayes Rogers, the murdered politician.

In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders by Kathryn Casey

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

In Plain SightIn Plaint Sight is the true crime story of the Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders.

It is a well written story with great background research on the killer and victim. While not familiar with the case, I found it interesting that the killer Eric Williams and one of his victims, Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, had similar lives and careers until one lost it and veered into murder.

This book has many great reviews for good reason – it is that good.

The Gate Keeper An Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery (Inspector Ian Rutledge Mysteries)by Charles Todd (Review #2)

Reviewed by Jud Hanson

The Gate KeeperInspector Ian Rutledge is a troubled man. He remains haunted by his experiences in the war and it is starting to impact both his personal and professional lives. While on a solo drive in rural England after his sister’s wedding, Rutledge nearly hits a car stopped in the middle of the road. To his surprise, there is a young woman standing by a man’s body, her hand’s covered in blood. Despite appearances, she is adamant about her innocence, leaving Rutledge uncertain as to what to do next. It turns out that the deceased individual is from the village of Wolf Pit and by all accounts is very well liked by nearly everyone in Wolf Pit. Despite being something of a witness to the crime, Rutledge is given approval by the Yard to lead the investigation, which heats up when a second murder occurs and then a third. In order to solve these crimes, Rutledge must pry into the past of the original victim to determine what the common thread is before the killer strikes again.

The Rooster Bar by John Grisham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Rooster BarWriting about young law students or those just recently admitted to the bar has always been a good stomping ground for Grisham. And The Rooster Bar really fills the bill!

A group of law students attending Foggy Bottom Law School basically get together on several evening meetings and begin discussing the Foggy Bottom Law School. One of them especially has been looking into some strange things about the school as far as placement of graduates and also failure rates etc. He is determined that something is not right so he tells his two buddies and his girlfriend that he is putting together a study to either prove or disprove his theory.

Basically he finds in his studies that the bulk of the lower rated law schools, such as Foggy Bottom, not only produce fewer top graduates. But also strangely enough many of these lower rated schools appear to be owned by a group of industrialists who would not appear to have any interest particularly in further education and definitely not in law degrees. No one takes his findings too seriously but he continues with his theories.

Fools and Mortals by Bernard Cornwell

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Fools and MortalsAre all mortals foolish? In Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the character Puck is quoted as saying, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”

Yes, we have all done innumerable foolish things in our past. William Shakespeare revealed the true nature and foolishness of people of his time period through his keen eyes of observation. Whether death, romance, love, stupidity somehow he was able to develop his characters into real people in his comedies or tragedies. Even though Shakespeare wrote years ago, the time and place is different, but people are still the same. Surprisingly, even though the setting is different from four-hundred years ago.

Bernard Cornwell also wondered about the brilliant author, William Shakespeare. In Fools and Mortals, Cornwell explores the world of theater in London with Shakespeare during the late 1500s. The story is told through the perspective of William’s younger brother, Richard, who is an actor in his brother’s company.

Noir by Christopher Moore

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

NoirFirst things first, I love the cover of this book! Do you ever pick a book because of the cover? I do and I would grab this one in a heart beat. The pin up girl in bright red and the two men in black suits and fedoras screams 1947. The golden gate bridge is also displayed lending a hint to the setting of the story. There is a snake and a green three fingered hand resting on the title that adds a bit of mystery to the overall design. This is cover love at it’s finest.

In the summer of 1947, San Francisco is changing. The war is over and work is hard to come by. Sammy “Two Toes” Tiffin is a bartender at a seedy gin joint when one night a dame named Stilton, aka the Cheese, walks in and Sammy falls hard. They spend time together and enjoy some razzmatazz until one night the Cheese goes missing. Sammy sets out to rescue her and save her from the two mugs in black suits. However, what he finds he never expected. With a colorful cast of characters and bountiful twists and turns down dark alley’s, we are off on an adventure.