Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Candidate (A Newsmakers Novel) by Liz Wiehl

Reviewed by Teri Davis

The CandidateHow can you be certain that who you vote for as President is the person the country needs and who you believe is the best person?

Erica Sparks has worked hard to overcome her personal problems with alcohol to become one of the nation’s highest rated cable news host. It isn’t easy to be on the top since logically at some time, you know that you have to come off that mountaintop.

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Now she has the responsibility and privilege to get to know the two Presidential candidates. One is a woman, Lucy Winters who appears sincere, down-to-earth, genuine and trustworthy. The other is a handsome veteran who also was kidnapped while on a humanitarian mission to Iraq. This man, Mike Ortiz at times appears charismatic while often his eyes look empty and coached by his wife. Who would get your vote?

The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole (A Taste of Texas Mystery) by Rebecca Adler

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

The Good, the Bad and the GuacamoleFollowing the very entertaining Here Today, Gone Tamale, The Good, the Bad and the Guacamole finds the West Texas town of Two Boots gearing up for the annual Homestead Days celebration. Music is one of the main focus points of the festival and things get rolling with the well known singer Jeff Clark who just happens to be the ex flame of Patti Perez. Patti, for readers who may not have read the first book in the series, is the best friend and side kick of protagonist Josie Callahan. Patti’s relationship with Jeff is long over, but when he asks Patti to meet him backstage she not only goes, but agrees to meet him again after the concert as well. Fast forward to the next day, and Josie who is eager to get an interview with the singer, goes by Patti’s house where Jeff ended up the night before, and finds the singer face down in a bowl of guacamole and very, very dead. Patti immediately becomes the number one suspect and Josie leaps into action to find the real killer. Along the way, the author gives readers a glimpse into the country music industry which gives the book more of a Nashville feel than West Texas. This brings me to my one quibble with the book and for that matter the series.

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Phantom Evil (Krewe of Hunters) by Heather Graham

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Phantom EvilWell, I thought I was going to be in the middle of a murder mystery but it turns out that I flopped into the middle of a ghost-murder mystery. Since I am not a believer in ghosts per se it was a bit of a difficult read. However it did have some good parts and was somewhat easy to read.

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Adam Harrison, a well-known paranormal investigator, is called up to check out the possibility of ghosts in a New Orleans mansion. He does not do the dirty work himself but instead brings in Jackson Crow, a Behavioral Sciences investigator for the government. Crow is given an assignment and a crew to investigate this mansion and try to determine if in fact there are ghosts or something like that involved the death of the wife of a senator from Louisiana. Many are speculating that she committed suicide by jumping off the balcony to her death. But others believe that someone pushed her.

Limelight Kisses (Love Behind the Scenes Book 1) by Michelle Segal

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

Limelight KissesIn her romance novel Limelight Kisses: Love Behind the Scenes, author Michelle Segel presents a steamy tale of opposites attracting in modern-day Hollywood. Filled with classic genre twists and sexy bedroom scenes, Limelight Kisses is a tale that comparatively makes real-life Hollywood love-stories look like a box-office flops.

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After a brief prologue set in the present day, Limelight Kisses opens in the early 2000s, in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. Twenty-six-year-old Ryan Lancaster is there working as a production assistant on the set of the historical cinematic drama, Mrs. Woodbridge’s Daughters. After a female lead is forced to drop out of the film, Ryan presides over an open casting call, and in walks in the young and beautiful college coed, Katherine Walker. Although she’s only there to support a friend, Ryan, sunned by her beauty and natural charisma, has her take a screen test. It comes as no surprise that she is perfect, and immediately, despite of her lack of credentials, lands the part. After some initial hesitation, Katherine takes a leave of absence from school, and following heart her and her passion, accepts the part.

Closed Casket: A New Hercule Poirot Mystery (Hercule Poirot Mysteries) by Sophie Hannah

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Closed CasketThe estate of Agatha Christie contracted with Sophie Hannah to write books featuring Christie’s famous detective, Hercule Poirot. Closed Casket is set up perfectly for an Agatha Christie type mystery. The setting is a country estate where the family has been summoned for a big announcement. Also present at the request of the hostess are her attorney, Inspector Catchpool from Scotland Yard and the well-known Belgium detective Hercule Poirot. Before the guests arrived, Lady Playford asked her attorney to write a new will for her-a will which removes her children as heirs and replaces them with a dying man. There doesn’t seem to be any logic in this move as the Lady is in robust health and is most certainly expected to outlive her newly appointed heir. If he does indeed precede her in death, her children then inherit, so the writing of a new will seems to be for no other reason than provoking her own children. But why? And why was Poirot and Catchpool invited?

This a difficult book to review. The first six or seven chapters were very difficult to get through. Part of this was because the story is narrated by Inspector Catchpool from Scotland Yard who is an acquaintance of Poirot, and is sort of Hannah’s answer to Colonel Hastings in the Christie books. That relationship is the first sign of trouble. While one would expect the two men to work together and be friendly as with the Poirot/Hastings relationship, for most of the book the narrator makes them out more as competitors and the dialogue between the two is very stiff. The pacing of the book is also bogged down by Catchpool’s ongoing mental musings as to what Poirot must be thinking of him because of how things went on the previous case they were involved with together. Mental ponderings are almost always a drag to read through and in this case, they related to an entirely different book! But if readers stick with it through the beginning, while the novel’s premise is set and the characters are introduced, the book moves along much better.

Hannah is a skilled writer and her plotting ability shone through. This was a well-plotted book, with one of the most ingenious murders, both in method and reason, that I have run across. Hannah pulls readers along giving us many possible suspects and motives to choose from without cheating the reader with the final solution. For readers who are not huge Christie fans or can separate themselves from Christie’s Poirot and enjoy the book for what it is, this is a fine book. But if people are reading it and expecting a Christie-like puzzle solved by Poirot’s “little grey cells” they shall be disappointed. In fact, the case is solved more along the lines of the way Miss Marple, Christies’s other famous protagonist would solve things. Miss Marple relied heavily on human nature and figuring things out through the various characters’ ramblings whereas Poirot relied almost entirely on his own wits. Poirot as found in Closed Casket finds most of the information he needs for the crime’s solution through the other characters’ long, and at times tedious, stories.

Closed Casket is the second mystery written by Sophie Hannah using Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot. As is often the case with characters continued by a second author, the results are hard to assess. On one hand, Closed Casket is a fine mystery in and of itself. Are Poirot fans going to find it up to Christie’s standards? Probably not. And there in is the rub. The book itself is fine, but Poirot and the way he solves the crime just doesn’t quite feel quite right when compared to Christie’s work.

Closure: An Eli Quinn Mystery by Robert Roy Britt

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

ClosureAn overall thriller, Robert Roy Britt’s Closure, book one in his Eli Quinn detective series, catapults the series off to a great start as it entertains readers with an intriguing introduction to his hard-punching yet sentimental, tough-guy detective. As the premiere book in this hard-boiled detective series, readers will find their curiosity roused by its emotional richness, fascinating characters, hard-edged action and web-like intrigue.

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Expired Listings by D.M. Barr

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Expired ListingsThis is advertised as an erotic suspense thriller. In all possible ways this definitely qualifies on all counts.

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Dana Black is the main character of the work. She is a troubled adult working in real estate in the same company as her sister and in the same town as her mother did as well.

The only caveat is that this is erotica of a specific nature. There is no graphic sex, but there are adult situations throughout the book. From the beginning, where the murderer is dealing with a victim in their dungeon killing floor area, Barr spends a lot of time filling in the backstory until in the final chapter the surprise ending blasts into reality.

Stories of the Indebted by Jorge P. Newbery

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Stories of the IndebtedThe lives of too many Americans are absorbed by debt, becoming prisoners of a vicious cycle from which breaking free is difficult. However, Jorge P. Newbery offers an escape plan in the form of a book, Stories of the Indebted.

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The book is comprised of seven chapters, each revolving around how to handle specific types of debt. Jorge P. Newbery finds an engaging way to present information which can easily be perceived as boring or overly technical for those who are not versed in economics; he uses the art of storytelling to compel and teach the reader. With the help of his characters who seem as real as you and I, he shares their problems and also the solutions to each case. However, do not expect to read any classic success stories; as the author himself realized, these are not as efficient in grabbing the attention as stories about failures. The focus falls on how to rise once you have fallen and how to learn from your (and other people’s) mistakes.

First Kill: An Eli Quinn Mystery by Robert Roy Britt

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

First KillFirst Kill is Robert Roy Britt’s latest Eli Quinn mystery. Quinn is a former investigative reporter turned private investigator with a knack for solving crimes. His faithful dog Solo “the world’s greatest K-9 private eye” is always by his side. Quinn’s latest case involves a missing real estate agent, Joe Mack, in the small town of Pleasant, Arizona. Quinn is contacted by the realtor’s daughter who hasn’t heard from him since he arrived at a conference the previous day. Quinn takes the case and begins his search into the missing man’s disappearance.

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While delving into the mystery, he learns that Mack and his wife, Joanne are into the local swinging scene. Could some of the other swingers be suspects? Quinn does some sleuthing and learns of a swinger party. He crashes the party and discovers several other real estate agents attending. His suspect list is growing quickly. Along the way he has help from his friend, Beach, a former lawman and from his new love interest, Samantha Marcos, a reporter. He can also count on his German Shepard, Solo, to help out with the bad guys.

5 Days to Landfall by Robert Roy Britt

Reviewed by Teri Davis

5 Days to LandfallLiving along the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina, most people know how to prepare for hurricanes. Their communities understand the potential disaster and work well to minimize the amount of damage to the communities. They know that nature always wins. These communities almost can write a book about storm preparedness including evacuations.

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