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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Daily Archives: September 11, 2011

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

The End of the Wasp SeasonReviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

What I liked right off the bat about Denise Mina’s latest Detective Inspector Alex(andra) Morrow book is it’s highly evocative title. It made me think of the Shakespeare quote about a “brooding nest of vipers,” and how family members can sometimes act like serpents or, in the case of Mina’s novel, wasps. By the title alone, I could tell the book would be dark, brooding, and probably involve dysfunctional families, and this is true on all counts. The End of the Wasp Season is a page-turning and psychologically suspenseful novel you won’t want to put down.

Detective Inspector Morrow is pregnant with twins in The End of the Wasp Season and has plenty of her own family issues and black sheep in the family to deal with. As the book opens, she is attending her father’s funeral, but there was no love lost between them. It’s an ill-attended funeral, but her sleazy con-man brother, Danny, is one of the few people there and serves as a pallbearer, much to Alex’s discomfiture. It seems that one of the main reasons Danny is there at all is to get Alex to do a favor for him, to testify about the type of punishment his son Johnny should receive for raping a young teenage girl.

She doesn’t want a thing to do with Danny or with Johnny, knowing how Danny operates and likes to get his claws into people and eventually get corrupt, like himself, and sometimes them to work for him. It is hard to blame her, for she has intimate knowledge of how her brother uses people for his own benefit; but, it also makes Alex a hard-edged character more difficult to sympathize with. In the way she interacts with her family, Alex seemed to me to be like the other “wasps” of the title, who turn in upon themselves and cause pain for themselves and others.

In The End of the Wasp Season, Detective Inspector Alex Morrow works on solving the case of who viciously murdered a young woman in a wealthy suburb of Glasgow. At first, it seems to be the result of a random attack; but, she eventually discovers it was anything but random. Sarah Erroll, the woman, is found by her solicitor on the stairs, as if in the act of trying to escape. Her face has been obliterated, and one ear lobe is completely detached from her ear. The police find two sets of footprints, but there doesn’t seem to be a motive for the murder, as the victim was not robbed and had around a million euros stashed in her house. Of course, Morrow and the other police wonder how she got the money–from drugs, laundering it, or possibly from working as a prostitute–and try to find out if there’s any link between the money and her murder.

Galaxy Games: The Challengers by Greg R. Fishbone Illustrations by Ethan Beavers

Galaxy Games

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Ty Sato is looking forward to his eleventh birthday party until he finds out that his older sister, Amanda, planned it for his busy parents. She even arranged for there to be a clown at this event. Now, Ty has to figure out a way to have the party but not to be the nerdy kid and the joke of a typical vengeful teenaged sister.

His cousins in Japan have sent him an unusual present. They had a star named after Ty.

Quickly though, this star that astronomers are following, is not a normal star and is moving way too fast and closer to our planet. From being a star, to an asteroid, to a meteor, to now looking like a spaceship, this Ty Sato is closely approaching our planet. With many people believing that the end of the world is near, the planet slowly anticipates their last days due to the arrival of Ty Sato. How would you like to share a name with the possible destruction of the planet?

On board this spaceship is M’Frozza from the planet, Mrendaria, who is an octopus-like creature on a secret mission. She desperately needs to save her own world from disaster in the universe, being a part of the galactic Galaxy Games. Ty Sato is given the chance to save both his world and hers, but will he make the correct choices? Does he have what it takes to be the hero of our planet?

This is a delightful, fast-paced comic type of art book with a teenaged sense of humor such as communications being relayed through the toilets on the Mrendaria ship. This collaborative book is fun, funny, and at the same time realistic. The story line is easy and enjoyable to follow. The characters are well-developed, even for a three-eyed, multiple nostrils, octopus-like creature.

Galaxy Games: The Challengers is fun to read. Combining science fiction, fantasy, with humor and realism makes this intriguing for all ages. The mix of the story with the graphics is a perfect blend for Galaxy Games.

Disclosure in Accordance with FTC Guidelines 16 CFR Part 255

Trail of Blood by Lisa Black (Review #2)

Trail of BloodReviewed by Teri Davis

Most investigators would not be interested in a murdered body that was killed seventy-five years ago. However, Theresa MacLean, a forensic scientist, is more than intrigued by this discovery especially when she identifies the body of a long-dead policeman.

An older building is being destroyed and as the construction crew is preparing for the complete annihilation of it, they discover a secret room with the remains of this man on a table where it seems that his blood was drained. Who had access to this room? Why would someone have this type of table in a business? Where did the drain lead to? Who knew about this?

This policeman, James Miller, seemed to be one of the few uncorrupted officers at the time. However, he was listed as a deserter of the force when in actuality he was murdered.

Trail of Blood goes back to the mid-1930s, with Eliot Ness being assigned as the leader of the corrupt police force of Cleveland, Ohio and accepting the challenge to clean-up the force. Unfortunately, there seems to be a copycat killer from the 1930s known as the Torso Killer who is leaving new evidence to this old crime.

The strength of this mystery was the realism. Some evidence did not lead to the conclusion, whereas, others did. The reader had to sort out the information as the evidence and interviews were revealed. With various point-of-views, this approach included the reader as actually part of the investigation.