Tag Archives: book review

Reprise: A Memorious Tale of Things Present by Simon Plaster

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Reprise, by Simon Plaster, continues his series of humorous and satirical novels about Henrietta Hebert, who has gone from being an investigative reporter to now being a Private Eye. She figures that being an investigative reporter is not that much different, in that she digs up the dirt on the people she writes about, just like detectives discover all sorts of secrets about whoever they are investigating, and she might as well get the credit for solving a crime or mystery that some inept detective would claim. otherwise.

The trouble is that, at the start of Reprise, Henrietta is not getting any bites. That is, not until one day, a fateful knocking at her door and buzzing at her doorbell launches her new career. When Henrietta answers the door, she sees a woman standing there who introduces herself as Dr. Gloria Stern, and she explains that she has been searching for Wynona Sue Lehough, namely, Henrietta’s mother. Though Dr. Stern admits that the last time she saw Henrietta’s mother was three years ago, because she is “downsizing her practice,” she suddenly is concerned about Wynona Sue’s whereabouts and wants Henrietta, listed on old paperwork as Wynona’ Sue’s “next of kin,” to find the so-called missing woman, who has been without her meds for a period of years by then. Unbeknownst to Dr. Stern, right at that very moment, Henrietta’s mother is trying to reach her via her daughter’s “eye-phone.”

Dr. Stern has some rather potentially serious news to tell Henrietta. Based on her knowledge of Wynona Sue’s somewhat flighty and unstable mental state, Dr. Stern says that she believes Wynona Sue likely is responsible for having killed her husband, Henrietta’s step-father, Professor Alexander Lehough. As it’s also been reported that Wynona Sue fired a gun into the floorboards of her house, when her husband of five years plus was underneath the house tending to some of his insect “pets,” that idea is not, in theory, beyond the realm of possibility.

Henry, Himself: A Novel by Stewart O’Nan

Reviewed by Allen Hott

This is quite a different book. No violence, no sex, just very good interesting writing about a 75 year old man and how he lives his life. Henry Maxwell is a retired engineer and former soldier who lives with his wife in the Pittsburgh area and stays busy by “puttering around”.

He is well educated and also is a good do-it-your-selfer. He and his wife, Emily of fifty plus years, have children who are somewhat distant but still relevant in his life. He spends most of his time walking his dog, Rufus, and doing all types of maintenance jobs around his home especially the yard and fence area.

Much of the time his mind is working as to what kind of life did he live and was it a good one for those connected to him. He worries that he wasn’t a good man but all indicators say that he was and is. His children all love him, his wife loves him, and the folks in the neighborhood think highly of him.

Stone Cold (The Camel Club Book 3) by David Baldacci

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The famous Camel Club belonging to David Baldacci’s series of books comes back in Stone Cold. As is usually the case Oliver Stone is the main character and as a government investigator he is knee deep in a story of wealth and murder. Stone himself is quite different in this one as he is not known by that name but was known as John Carr, another longtime investigator.

And as John Carr he was supposedly killed and buried! But then someone dug that body up and the grave is now empty so is John Carr alive and well or was someone else buried in the grave? That whole mystery is only one part of Stone Cold as Oliver Stone works his way around trying to solve murders and save folks from being murdered.

One of the main culprits happens to be Jerry Bagger who is the casino king. At the present time Bagger is very interested in finding Annabelle Conroy, a very pretty con woman who managed by hook or crook to get a tremendous amount of money from one of his casinos! She has since disappeared and is no doubt on the run with the cash.

Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite: Macavity and Me Mystery Book 2 by Charlotte Stuart

Reviewed by Daniel Ryan Johnson

Who, Me? Fog Bows, Fraud and Aphrodite is a classic who-done-it. Bryn Baczek is a consultant living on a boat in Seattle with her strong-willed cat Macavity and an ailing goldfish who is fourth in line to the name of Bubbles. Due to too much coffee resulting in a late-night need to use the bathroom, Bryn overhears a heated argument on a neighbor’s boat, followed by a splash and silence.

From there, Bryn is not-so-reluctantly pulled into a mystery involving a missing woman, Captain America pajamas, questionable taste in art, scuba diving in the dark, a non-profit organization, a post-it note, a poker game, a stuffy auditor, and a pseudonym. While Bryn tries to play the part of a witness who is just trying to do her duty for justice, it is clear that she is very much enjoying her chance to play Sherlock Holmes. Bryn takes the one loose thread that lies in front of her and keeps pulling until the whole sweater has come unraveled. While Bryn continues to share her knowledge with the police throughout, she does so only after investigating each clue herself.

Charlotte Stuart presents us with a fun mystery, which, despite moments of darkness, generally plays as a light-hearted caper. Stuart has created well-rounded, intriguing characters to populate her story. Told from the first-person perspective, we get a thorough look into Bryn’s psyche and discover more about her than she is even willing to admit to herself.

The Bubble by Joseph Patenaude (Author) Mauro Lirussi (Illustrator)

Reviewed by Teri Takle

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to experience the freedom of complete weightlessness and to float on gentle wind currents? Unfortunately, to experience total relaxation as if you were a bubble can only be imagined if you were a bubble. The Bubble is that story.

Blowing bubbles is a delight for people of all ages. It is hypnotic to follow their paths as they maneuver through the air. This thought captured Joseph Patenaude’s thoughts as he observed his children blowing bubbles and developed those memories into a children’s book, The Bubble.

The Bubble is a read-aloud book for children aged two to eight. The basic setting is a coastal environment, so it is an excellent opportunity to enrich different types of places people live.

Lush illustrations match each text word perfectly, emphasizing the environmental settings such as autumn leaves, new springtime life, mountainous regions, stormy seas, colorful marine life, forests, lakes, and fields.

For example, as a storm approaches, the reader experiences the sheer fear of being a bubble encaptured inside its surroundings, being pushed by the wind, crashing into waves, and even hiding in the water. This picturesque perspective is an illustration of the story.

A Line to Kill: A Novel (A Hawthorne and Horowitz Mystery Book 3) by Anthony Horowitz

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

In A Line to Kill, the author depicts himself as a fictional character in a murder mystery that will keep you riveted until the last page. Novelist Anthony Horowitz is the penman for stories featuring Private Detective Daniel Hawthorne. They work together as a team on criminal investigations. The relationship between Horowitz and Hawthorne is similar in many ways to how Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson interact with each other.

Horowitz and Hawthorne are participants in a summer literary festival taking place on the island of Alderney, which is situated on the English Channel. A diverse group of writers attends the festivities. The heinous murder of the man whose company sponsored the festival embroils Horowitz and Hawthorne in an independent investigation authorized by the law enforcement officer in charge of the case. They discover that the victim’s personality traits tend to rub people the wrong way, which leads to many viable suspects. The disappearance of a close relation to the victim adds to the urgency of solving the case. Will the person who is missing be found alive or dead? Will the killer(s) be arrested or elude the police?

The Storm by Val Bardash

Reviewed by Timea Barbaras

The Storm” by Val Bardash is a beautifully written tale about intimacy in its many forms. Intimacy between family, friends, even strangers… and also the empty space between us. But above all else, the void that we all carry around within us. A bottomless black hole that we try to fill with love, tenderness, adventures, or writing.

The book follows two main stories that become interwoven, that of youth and of aging. A young aspiring writer tries to find himself and his estranged father through writing. Perhaps the one thing that connects them, beyond blood. The books written by his famous father, John Stark, become a window through which the son can glance at an image of a father figure. But the figure is distorted. It is uncertain which features are real and which are carefully crafted by the Stark’s pen.

The author showcases throughout the pages how years of life and living transform some raw innate elements while washing over others without leaving a mark. The characters seem to be lost souls aimlessly wandering in the modern wilderness desperate to reach a clearing. For the main protagonists, the coveted clearing was, in fact, a mountain, a place of solitude, rest, and death. They were drawn to this beacon of resolution for similar reasons, and on their journey, they discovered not only themselves but each other as well.

Win (Windsor Horne Lockwood III Book 1) by Harlan Coben

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Quite a different one by Coben in that he has used one of his secondary characters as the main character in this story. Pretty much the same style of story line in that Windsor Horne Lockwood III is now running the show as the chief investigator. It pretty much came about because Myron Bolitar who is normally Win’s boss is out of the picture for reasons only Coben knows.

Win even though he doesn’t necessarily look the part is quite an investigator. The only thing is he was born rich and as his name states he is of several generations of money. While this story does go on and into some detail about Win’s fortune and how he uses it, the story also shows his ability to be an investigator who can do that job very well.

After a ball game and slight battle with one of his previously designed enemies Win is picked up by the police. He believes they are looking to do something to him about assault but in fact they want him to help them on an investigation of a man who has been murdered. They take him into the room where the dead man is lying and immediately Win notices two things.

First is a very expensive painting hanging on the wall. Win knows it is expensive because he owns it and it has recently been stolen! Right next to the painting is a suitcase which has his initials on it because he also owns the suitcase!

They Call Me Ms: A Vic Carella Mystery by Terry Adcock

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

They Call Me Ms. takes place in the Washington metropolitan area and introduces readers to Private Investigator Vic Carella. Mitch Goldberg hires Vic to locate his stolen luxury yacht. What Vic thinks is just a simple problem of tracking down a missing vessel turns into a challenging and dangerous adventure as Mitch was not forthcoming when Vic agreed to take on the case. It comes to light Mitch is tangled up with a criminal organization that engages in arms smuggling, money laundering, and human trafficking.

Mitch’s dead body turns up before Vic figures out who might have hidden the yacht and its location. Vic’s inquiries to determine who killed Mitch and his involvement in illegal and nefarious activities bring her to the attention of miscreants. She comes up against seemingly inescapable and life-threatening situations. Concurrently with Vic, law enforcement officials are investigating. Who will prevail? Will the individuals engaged in unlawful activities get away with their crimes or be stopped by Vic and/or police and government agencies?

The novel is a terrific debut in A Vic Carella Mystery series. Vic, the newly featured female private detective, tells the story from her point of view. Terry Adcock’s writing style lets readers get a first-hand look into Vic’s emotional and behavioral responses to ethical dilemmas. All the characters are imbued with distinctive personality traits, which affect their approach and reaction to situations. New challenges and more complications for the characters make readers want to know what will happen next. How complicated will their personal lives become? Can they overcome obstacles in their way? The profanity chosen by Adcock suits the characters.

The People vs. Alex Cross by James Patterson

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A typical Patterson book. The People vs Alex Cross is long and detailed but it is also interesting enough to hold the reader’s attention to the end. Alex Cross is a good long time cop who does have somewhat of a reputation for shooting those who oppose him……but it has always been proven that they provoked the shooting by pointing a gun at him or something that made Alex pull the trigger.

In this one he has shot and killed several followers of a major nemesis of his and he contends that they had guns drawn and were pointing them at him. His entire family is in the courtroom in his support and when it appears to be a closed case Alex’s nine year old son, Ali pulls off an astounding work that actually convinces the court to go on hold and rethink the evidence.

Strangely enough while all of this court room drama is going on Alex, along with his fellow police officers, is being drawn into an even deeper situation. It seems John Sampson, Alex’s former partner who is on temporary has gotten involved a case of missing girls. Not only are they young and very pretty but they also are all blondes. Everyone in law enforcement knows that they have been taken prisoners for those reasons. And they also feel quite sure that nothing but harm can come to these young women.