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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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dangerous Refuge by Elizabeth Lowell (Review #2)

Dangerous Refuge

Reviewed by Vickie Dailey

This is the first book that I’ve read by Elizabeth Lowell. Ms Lowell is very good at painting the beautiful scenery as a backdrop for her new novel. Both the mystery and romance come together to provide a satisfying story.

The characters Tanner & Shaye meet under bad circumstances – the death of Tanner’s uncle. Shaye has been trying to convince Tanner’s uncle to sell his land to the conservancy that will protect the land. Tanner’s cop sense is telling him his Uncle did not die naturally. Tanner & Shaye soon join forces to solve the crime. Combining Tanner’s cop skills and Shaye’s local contacts they follow the lead of his Uncle’s missing gold coins.

King and Maxwell by David Baldacci

King and Maxwell

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Per all the information I have gathered, David Baldacci worked in Washington, D.C. for a number of years as an attorney. However after reading many of his novels I feel that he must somehow have been involved in espionage or counter-espionage or something!

Most of his stories somehow involve some sort of spying, government mismanagement, or something related to the government and all of its intelligence agencies. I am not in any way knocking his strategy because he can really write some interesting tales about our government and especially about the shady things happening in Washington. I suppose he makes up all of these situations but all I can say is he has some vivid imagination or maybe….who knows?

A Visit from Santa Clops or The Fright Before Christmas by Gig Wailgum

A Visit from Santa Clops

Reviewed by Teri Davis

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the home,” is the beginning of this slightly unconventional Christmas tale. What could possibly rhyme with home that could set the foundation of this traditional poem?

Did you ever think about the rest of the family who had Saint Nicholas. Just like everyone else, he came from a family complete with uncles, aunts, and cousins. Being that the entire family was needed for his success, Saint Nicholas is for the “good little girls and boys”.

What about those who were naughty?

That Old Black Magic (Piper Donovan/Wedding Cake Mysteries) by Mary Jane Clark

That Old Black Magic

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

After the events in the last Piper Donovan book, Piper is still recovering both physically and mentally. So when she has the opportunity to train with a world class baker in New Orleans, it seems like it might be just the thing to help her heal. Better yet, there is a chance she might snag a part in a movie filming in New Orleans at the same time.

However, almost immediately things start to sour. A well known sandwich shop owner is murdered and a local radio talk show host quickly dubs it a Hoodoo murder. Piper, who has a nose for murder investigations, tries not to not be drawn in, but as the “Hoodoo” murders continue, she finds herself dangerously involved.

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children) by Ransom Riggs

Hollow City

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Everyone wants to be near people who understand them. People who have common abilities are often close to others similar to them.

For children with unusual natural abilities, they quickly discover that normal people are curious about them, but also fearful. People are afraid of those who they do not understand. So how do these children exist in the world? Simply, they find each other and hopefully have the protection of a caring and nurturing adult.

In Hollow City, the story of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children continues with the children being pursued by wights. Definitely reminiscent of the German forces surrounding Britain with their submarines, the wights are chasing the children as they quietly are in a boat searching for land after their home was destroyed. Whether the children are captured alive or killed, the pursuit is on.

Fascinomas – Fascinating Medical Mysteries by Clifton K. Meador, M.D.

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Fascinoma combines the words ‘fascinate’ with ‘oma.’ The suffix ‘oma’ usually denotes a growth or tumor. … Thus a fascinoma is medical slang for an unusually interesting medical case.”

Combining the unusual with the study of medicine is the perfect title for this compact collection written in layman terms.

Doctors, fortunately, are usually correct in the assessment and treatment of most patients but it is impossible for a correct diagnosis all the time. Also complicating this process is the realistic fact that not everyone reacts exactly the same way to every disease. Most experienced doctors vividly remember those few cases where their diagnosis and treatment did not work. These are those stories which fortunately are resolved but often require a different approach.

Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox (Audible)

Waiting to be Heard

Reviewed by Nancy Eaton

First of all, I am not writing this review to judge whether Amanda Knox is innocent or guilty. This is a review of her book Waiting to be Heard.

This book is incredibly well written. I was surprised by the elaborate amount of details she provided throughout the book.

Waiting to Be Heard is not only about Amanda Knox’s case but also gives the readers insight about her time as a student in Italy and the friends she met while in the country. She includes information about her trial, her four years in prison, the many people with whom she had to share a cell and the support of her family.

It was fascinating to see Amanda take the evidence against her and tear it apart piece-by-piece to show why she is not guilty. She also shows the reader how she believes the prosecution’s case was so weak because it was based on circumstantial evidence.

The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell (Review #2)

The Death of Bees

Reviewed by Julie Moderson

Marnie was 15 years old and her little sister was 12. They buried their parents in the garden on Christmas. The ground was frozen so they did the best they could and put plants on top of the makeshift grave. They told everyone their parents had gone out of the country on vacation. They just needed to keep the secret until Marnie turns 16 and then she can be a guardian to her sister.

Lennie, the old man that lives next door to them, realizes the girls need his help. He doesn’t realize he needs them too. Lennie’s longtime partner has passed away and he is still morning his loss.

Nursing a Grudge (A Maternal Instincts Mystery) by Diana Orgain

Nursing a Grudge

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Most new mothers dream. Many dream of successfully balancing family, career and truly believe that they can handle it all.

Kate Connolly is not most mothers. She has dreams of running her own private investigating agency but first needs to learn the skills. Fortunately her mentor, Albert Galigani, a retired law-enforcement officer, conveniently is her mother’s boyfriend. Yes, life can become complicated quickly. Kate Connolly, private investigator, is her dream as soon as she learns the skills and can be licensed.

Kate is looking forward to reconnecting with her an old friend. Jill is a restaurant review critic who is quickly gaining notoriety in the San Francisco Bay Area.

13 Shots of Noir by Paul D. Brazill

13 Shots of Noir

Reviewed by Teri Davis

What short stories catch your attention? Which stories stay with you?

Authors who tend to shock and surprise the reader are well-respected with a following of loyal readers who might not actually enjoy the content, but truly appreciate the surprise in these unpredictable tales. Legendary writers and editors in this category include Alfred Hitchcock, Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone”, Roald Dahl, Falkner, O’Henry and Edgar Allan Poe. These writers of darkness make us uneasy even when we appreciate their creative gifts.

13 Shots of Noir by Paul D. Brazill is definitely one of these uneasy, uncomfortable collections of short stories. Each one involves a crime and a cover-up with an ending most of us could or would not predict. These are not tales of justice, but tales of irony.