Monthly Archives: March 2017

Mississippi Blood by Greg Isles

Reviewed by Laurie Weatherlow

Mississippi BloodThe conclusion of Greg Iles’ Natchez Burning trilogy is spectacular. He weaves a tale of destruction and revenge at the hands of the Double Eagles and it has hit the Cage family relentlessly. In order to survive they must stand strong and find the truth to what has happened not only in recent months, but also forty years ago.

Click Here for More Information on Mississippi Blood

Mississippi Blood is everything an exceptional southern novel should be. In-between the covers, there burns mystery, murder, deceit, racial tensions, adultery, violence, crimes and a trial that is not to be missed. You will be captivated by the excellent interconnection that Greg Iles has set before you. A story teller of the highest regard.

I am devastated that this in the final book in the Natchez Burning series. I have come to know and love all the characters in Natchez, Mississippi. This quote is the heart and spirit of each character that Isles’ has breathed life into.

“Mississippi blood is different. It’s got some river in it, Delta soil, turpentine, asbestos, cotton poison. But there’s strength in it, too. Strength that’s been beat but not broke. That’s Mississippi blood.”

All three of the books in the trilogy are long. Don’t let that intimidate you. I suggest starting with Natchez Burning, then The Bone Tree. The conclusion in Mississippi Blood will moor you to Natchez and you will not want to leave. Now, the withdrawal begins.

Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye by Tania Del Rio

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Warren the 13thSome people just seem to be doomed. Warren is a typical twelve-year-old.
Unfortunately, both his parents are dead. Fortunately, his Uncle Rupert is his guardian. Unfortunately, his Uncle Rupert is married to Aunt Annaconda.

Click Here for More Information on Warren the 13th and The All-Seeing Eye

Warren is responsible for his ancestor’s hotel. Warren the 1st planned the building with his son, Warren the 2nd, who built the hotel. For years, Warren’s ancestral line has managed and kept the multitude of secrets hidden within its walls, even the all-seeing eye. Being that Warren is a descendant of this prestigious lineage, he works endless hours maintaining his legacy.

Unfortunately, Uncle Rupert is lazy, and Aunt Annaconda is a witch.
Fortunately, the hotel has not a customer for five years. Unfortunately, or perhaps, fortunately, an automobile is approaching the rambling, broken-down hotel. The visitor doesn’t speak, just communicates with cards.

Can the new tenant speak? Why here? Why now? Why is the hotel suddenly full of customers?

Alaskan Queen by Richard A. Heininger

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Alaskan QueenLieutenant Cody James is living his dream. He is a U. S. Navy Officer who has the responsibility of following ships via GPS throughout the world.
Throughout the years of military schooling, his dream changed from being a pilot. His moral character drove him to continue to succeed, just in a different field.

Click Here for More Information on Alaskan Queen

Now Cody is on loan to the U. S. Coast Guard to assist in the development of a global fleet tracking navigational system. The focus is the Caribbean Sea. The system follows the usual paths of various legitimate shipping routes and is searching for anything the could be involved with smuggling or a terrorist attack.

Bone Box: A Decker/Lazarus Novel (Decker/Lazarus Novels)

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Bone BoxWhile Rina is hiking, she finds some bones which turn out to be human and have been in the ground for a few years. While investigators are combing the area looking for evidence, they find the remains of a couple more bodies which appear to have been buried within a couple of years of the first set of bones. All of the bodies were buried before the hiking trail was opened. Since the remains were found very close to each other and had been buried within a few years of each other, Decker is left with trying to determine if what he is dealing with is a serial killer in the past, or someone who is still active but who was forced to move his burial site after the trail opened. Two things shake up the investigation. The first is that it turns out that one of the potential victims may have escaped and is still alive. If this is true, then Decker needs to find her. The second thing is one of the current college students goes missing. As is often the case with college students, the frantic parents aren’t aware of some of their daughter’s activities making it harder for Decker to track her movements. Even though it is several years later, could this girl’s disappearance be linked to the bones found along the trail?

Click Here for More Information on Bone Box

I enjoyed this book. The case was interesting and took some unexpected turns. There were a couple of odd things though. A few times in the book the characters shifted where they were with no transition at all. For instance, on one page they are having dinner with their friends in California, and the next page they are back at their day-to-day lives in New York. And then there is the ending. I don’t want to spoil it, so I’ll leave it with saying that I was not satisfied with the ending. Not at all. It will be interesting to see where the next book begins.

Bone Box is the twenty-fourth book in the Decker/Lazarus series by Faye Kellerman. While the main characters are the same, nearly everything else in the series has shifted over the last few books. Some of those changes are expected, some are more puzzling.

The most obvious change is that Decker and Lazarus moved from California to upper state New York a few books ago. The move was logical as it puts them closer to one of their sons and his family and allows them to lead a slower paced life. Another logical change is the shift in characters. Their children are grown so readers don’t see them as much. Kellerman has filled that gap by having Decker’s partner/intern/law student from Harvard, become almost an adopted son. In this book Tyler McAdams is a major character.

The two glaring shifts in the series that are a little harder to understand is Rina Lazarus’s role. The earlier books tended to have two distinct plots, one with Rina and one with Decker. Often along the way the two stories merged with Decker’s part being the police procedural and Rina’s being the “human interest” side. Now, the books are basically all police procedurals featuring Decker’s cases. In this book, Rina’s role is reduced to cooking-for McAdams and Decker and also copious quantities of food for the Jewish holiday parties she has volunteered to host for the college students.

The other shift, one that I find most puzzling and one that makes me sad is that in the beginning and through most of the “California” books, Rina’s Orthodox Judaism played a huge role in the book. It set the tone of the books and lent a background story to how the characters interacted not only with each other, but how they viewed society in general. It was the play between Decker’s very secular view of things and Rina’s very religious view that made the books captivating. Now? It seems that Rina’s religion is all about cooking and jokes about McAdams joining the “tribe.” The Jewish rituals seem more forced than part of the flow of their lives.

In spite of the odd ending and the shifts in the series, I still love the books but I look on them differently now.

The Company She Kept: A Joe Gunther Novel (Joe Gunther Series) by Archer Mayor

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The Company She KeptThis is a first time read for me by this author and I was pleasantly surprised. He really keeps the story moving, holding the reader’s interest all the way to the end. And I mean ALL the way to the end. Doubt that more than 2 percent of those reading this one will figure out who the murderer is until the last chapter. Great job.

Click Here for More Information on The Company She Kept

A man and his wife out taking pictures in the mountains alongside the Connecticut River find a purse lying on the ground that appears to be dropped by someone who was there prior to them. They start looking around to see what else is perhaps there and whoa! Looking up the side of the cliff beside their walkway is a woman’s body hanging from a rope. The rope was entangled in the wire mesh that was being used as a preventative curtain to keep the cliff from breaking apart and falling below.

Joe Gunther, a squad leader for the Vermont Bureau of Investigation, receives a phone call from Gail Zigman, governor of Vermont. She and Joe had been a romantic duo some years before and shortly after she had been raped. And also before she had become a politician and then become the governor. Gail tells Joe that Susan Raffner was the woman that had just been found on the mountainside and rather going through the normal channels Gail wants Joe to get into the investigation immediately.

Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy: Ernest Hemingway’s Secret Adventures, 1935-1961 by Nicholas Reynolds

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Writer, Sailor, Soldier,SpyAuthor Reynolds holds a PhD from Oxford, is a former Marine who also worked as a CIA officer eventually settled into the role of military historian. It was while he was helping gather information for a new exhibit at the CIA Museum on the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), that Reynolds ran across several documents referencing Ernest Hemingway. That in itself was not so surprising as anyone who has read any of Hemingway’s work is aware the author worked as a war corespondent and also lived in Cuba as Castro came to power. However, his findings went far beyond that. He was surprised to find hints that Hemingway had once been associated with the NKVD which was the forerunner of the KGB, served as a spy for the US but also later a supporter of Castro. Make no mistake, this not some drily written tome of historical facts and documents. Reynolds seriously researched Hemingway’s life during each of these times and wrote a book filled with the author’s fascinating adventures. An author who already had a reputation of living life mostly out of bounds. How much research did the author do? There is roughly 80 pages of notes at the end of the book before the index.

Click Here for More Information on Writer, Sailor, Soldier, Spy

Much has been written about Ernest Hemingway already. Most people with any interest at all in the author knows of his 4 wives, his penchant for adventure regardless of the danger, his reputation as a hard drinker and his periods of deep depressions. This book gives readers a ring side seat into the larger than life figure explaining why all of those things happened to him. One of my favorite tales was of Hemingway actually patrolling the US coast line looking for German subs, a job he was sanctioned by the military to do. He was not just looking for them, his desire was to find and sink one. It isn’t just that he did this that makes this so interesting. It is the enthusiasm he put into the project that is. In many ways, he seems like a man who has never outgrown the little boy playing at war. One of my biggest surprises was how easily Hemingway was able to work his way into situations. He started as a writer covering WWII but slowly wormed his way into working for the OSS under the code name ARGO as a spy. He managed to get himself very close to the front lines, and even managed to fly for the RAF.

Searching for Gatsby: A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery (An Accidental Lady Detective, A Private Investigator Crime Series) (Volume 3) by Niki Danforth

Reviewed by Teri Davis

Searching for GatsbyRonnie Lake is a fifty-six-year-old woman beginning her new business as a private investigator. While at a party sponsored by some wealthy friends, she listens to her friend, Marilyn’s suspicions about whether her husband Win, is having an affair. She is a little hesitant accepting the position being that she is friends with both Win and Marilyn. Marilyn is suspicious of a gorgeous woman, Katya Alessandro who just left the party.

Click Here for More Information on Searching for Gatsby

Frank, Ronnie’s brother and Juliana seem like they are still honeymooners. Frank’s first wife, Joanie died, and his new wife appears to fulfill all her brother’s dreams and wishes.

Ronnie still has the grief of having a son die in Afghanistan. Fortunately, she adopted her son’s K-9 partner from the military. Warrior is very protective of her and is a great partner in sharing their sorrow.

Jamie Gordon has a charismatic quality attracting Ronnie as he joins the party. His handsomeness certainly draws everyone’s attention.

Suddenly a commotion is outside with the sound of breaking branches as an older man dressed in black falls through the dogwood tree. While hanging in the tree, while moaning, Frank calls 9-1-1 just as the branches again break dropping him to the ground, The man looks at Jamie and whispers, “The book.”
“I always said…if it was the last thing…I ever did…” These are the man’s last words. Why? What did the burglar steal upstairs while the people were enjoying the elaborate party downstairs?

Bone White: Mundy’s Landing Book Three by Wendy Corsi Staub

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

Bone WhiteWendy Corsi Staub is back with the third in her newest series set in Mundy’s Landing, New York. Flashback to 1666 where all but five of the colonists died from starvation. The remaining five are from the same family and they somehow survived the bitter, cold winter and the lack of food. The parents of this family are accused of murder and eventually are executed leaving their three children orphans. These children lived out honorable lives in the town, Mundy’s Landing that was named after their family. They swore that they would never reveal the secret that died with their parents.

Click Here for More Information on Bone White

Fast forward to the present day. After her father’s death, Emerson Mundy has flown across the country to learn about her ancestors. She was raised in California, far away from her relatives and heritage and really didn’t know much about her family. When she arrives in Mundy’s Landing, she is finds long, lost relatives and a welcoming home. Perhaps she will stay here as it seems this is where she belongs.

If You Were Me and Lived in…the Middle Ages…Viking Europe by Carole P. Roman

Reviewed by Teri Davis

If You Were Me and Lived in Viking EuropeImagine living in England during the year 1072. To help you, former social studies teacher, Carole Roman along with illustrator, Mateya Arkova, have created the perfect tool for transporting each of us into that time and place through the pages of this exquisite book.

The paperback explains how life changed from when the Romans controlled the country and their contributions to the change of the Renaissance period beginning around 1400 A.D.

By taking a reading journey into each fiefdom, you learn about the world of knights who sold their services and life as a servant or vassal.

This book is through the eyes of a daughter whose father was a knight in William of Normandy’s army and rewarded with land for being victorious with the invasion of England. Describing life inside the keep is picturesque. Also, well-represented is the perspective from being a peasant. I find the section regarding the medical field fascinating, but obviously not the healthiest.

Intelligent Field by Surendra Kumar Sagar

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Intelligent FieldIntelligent Field by the immensely gifted author, Surendra Kumar Sagar, is a mind-expanding look at what he refers to as the Intelligent Field, a sort of Traveling Cosmic Mind that controls nature, but it’s the `Information` in the field and the flow of such information in the field that is responsible for everything that happens in the universe , including the imparting of Intelligence to the field. As mentioned in the Foreword of the book, within this `Intelligent Field` is a universal mind, that gives us “consciousness.”

Click Here for More Information in Intelligent Field

Intelligent Field is a follow-up, of sorts, to Sagar’s book, Six Words. Both Intelligent Field and Six Words have a cross-disciplinary approach and are deeply philosophical. In Intelligent Field, as in Six Words, a wide variety of topics get incorporated into a heady mix, with Sagar always optimistic in the potential for the human race, but also pointing out how events unfolding in the United States and globally could lead to the possible end of human life on the planet Earth.

Sagar is not a prophet of gloom and doom in Intelligent Field, but he does mention that humans are getting closer and closer to midnight, as far as the Doomsday Clock goes. There is still time left to pull humanity back from the brink of potential extinction, but it can only be accomplished only if certain measures are taken before it is too late.