A Blog for Mystery Lovers

Posts tagged ‘mysteries’

“Looks Can Be Deceiving” by Jim Conners

This book was a fun read.  The author is a former high school classmate of mine, so we both hail from Western New York State where the story is set, and when it comes to reading enjoyment, for me, a great deal is about the setting.  So being able to relate to the actual places described in the book was a big plus.  Written in first person with a gruff and gritty dialogue style, the main character came across  as realistic and down-to-earth, and most of the secondary characters were developed enough to make the story come alive.  One caution: the book could use another round of editing for punctuation and word usage, although I think too much refinement in this case could distract from the style of writing and the feel for the main character. All in all, the story seemed to work for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Jim, I’m looking forward to your next book.  Keep up the good work!

New Bay Tanner Mystery

I just wanted to share with all the mystery lovers out there news of  the recent release of the latest Bay Tanner mystery, “Jericho Cay“, by one of my favorite authors, Kathryn Wall.  This is the 11th book in this series set in the Hilton Head, S.C. area.

Here is Kathy’s preview of the book:

“While restoring her Hilton Head home after a brush with a hurricane, Bay reluctantly accepts best-selling true crime writer Winston Wolfe
as a client. Arrogant and secretive, Wolfe is researching the
cold-case disappearance of reclusive millionaire Morgan Tyler Bell
from his secluded private island off the South Carolina coast. What
has Bay’s investigative antennae quivering is the apparent suicide of
Bell’s longtime housekeeper at the time he vanished. After viewing
the scene inside his fabulous abandoned mansion on Jericho Cay, Bay
isn’t so sure.

Her newest employee–her husband Red–is hot to pursue the inquiry.
But as Wolfe’s behavior becomes more and more bizarre, Bay is torn
between her desire to earn her hefty fee and her fear that something
much more sinister is going on just below the surface. Is Bell dead
or alive? And who is the elusive man in the red baseball cap who just
may hold the answers to all her questions?”

Looks like I’ll be adding this one to my summer reading list!

“April Fool Dead” by Carolyn Hart

This is not exactly going to be a review of “April Fool Dead” (HarperCollins, 2002) beacuse I never actually finished reading the book.  I tried, I really did.

I chose this one because the title caught my eye (it happened to be around April 1st, of course) and this author’s series setting for the Death on Demand bookshop mysteries is the South Carolina LowCountry, which I love.  And I do like a cozy once in a while.  In fact, I am working on writing one myself someday.  However, this book was way too cozy for me, if you get my drift. 

The first chapter introduces a multitude of characters, all with their own story lines, so I was pretty much lost right there at the beginnning.  But I made it through about 100 pages, even though nothing much had happened yet with any of these characters, so I put the book aside for a while. About a week later I picked it up again thinking, “There has to be some action coming at some point here,” and read about 60-some more pages.  Still zero action and zero suspense that I could pick up on.  The only mystery seemed to be who put out a bunch of bogus flyers, and I just couldn’t get interested in that.

Sure, eventually there was a murder, but nobody seemed particularly shocked or disturbed by it, and a few characters had somebody taking pot shots at them, but they didn’t seem very frightened at that either.  I just couldn’t get emotionally nor intellectually involved, so I gave up.

Sorry, Ms. Hart, but no sale.

Randy Wayne White Wins Award

Congratulations to Randy Wayne White who has won second place in this year’s Florida Book Awards, Popular Fiction Category, for “Deep Shadow” which I recently reviewed on this blog.  I enjoyed hearing him speak recently at our library and am certainly looking forward to reading more of his work.

 

“Santa Fe Edge” by Stuart Woods

“Santa Fe Edge” is a typical Stuart Woods book – the plot moves along quickly via matter-of-fact prose and dialogue with sparse attention to scene description or character analysis.  In other words, his books are usually a no-nonsense quick read, and this one is no exception.

A famous pro golfer is accused of his wife’s murder, and Santa Fe attorney Ed Eagle is defending him.  Meanwhile, Ed’s ex-wife Barbara has escaped from a Mexican prison and is again out to kill him.

There is a tangential story line about the CIA looking for a man called Teddy Fay who I gathered was a dangerous former operative previously thought to be dead.  I’m not sure why they were looking for him, but I assume that was explained in a previous book, as I also assume it will be carried forward into the next book, having not been satisfactorily resolved here.

I didn’t like “Santa Fe Edge” as much as I did some of Mr. Woods’ previous books, probably because I have not read the immediately preceding ones in the Ed Eagle series, so some of the background never became completely clear to me.  But I’m sure his regular fans will enjoy it.

Andrew Gross

If you like James Patterson, you will like Andrew Gross, one of my favorite authors.  As a matter of fact, Andrew began his writing career by co-authoring five books with Patterson (The Jester, Lifeguard, 2nd Chance, 3rd Degree, and Judge and Jury), which I’m sure is how he learned the fast pacing and non-stop action typical of a Patterson novel.  Andrew is now a best-selling author in his own right, with four published books and a fifth due out this year. 

In “The Blue Zone”, his first solo effort, medical researcher Kate Raab is shocked when her father is arrested and charged with laundering money for a Columbian drug cartel.  He is forced to testify against his accomplices, and when a hit squad tries to kill the entire family all except Kate must go into Witness Protection.  As Kate comes to realize she is still in danger she also becomes convinced that her father has lied about the extent of his involvement with the drug cartel, so she decides she must find him and uncover the truth in order to get her life back.

I particularly liked this book, probably because of the courageous female protagonist.  (Anyone who reads my blog knows this is my favorite kind of story.)  So I’m hoping Andrew will write more of these. 

His next three books are a series about Detective Ty Hauck (The Dark Tide, Don’t Look Twice, and Reckless), although each is a stand-alone story, so you can read them in any order.  They are fast-paced and filled with action.

I won’t summarize the plots here, but you can read about them at Andrew’s Website, www.andrewgrossbooks.com.

 

 The new book, “Eyes Wide Open” will be released on July 12, 2011, and you can be sure I will be reading this one as soon as possible and reviewing it for you.  In the meantime, be sure to try the others – I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

 

“Deep Shadow” by Randy Wayne White

“Deep Shadow” (G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2010) is an exciting book in the Doc Ford series and would make a dynamite movie.  Doc and his friends are diving in a remote Florida lake, hoping to find the old wreckage of an airplane which may be filled with gold from the Cuban national treasury.  Two of the divers are trapped when there is an underwater cave collapse, and Doc must find a way to save them;  but to complicate matters, two dangerous ex-cons on the run are waiting on shore, intent on getting the gold for themselves.

The book contains extensive descriptions of cave-diving, and the problem I had reading it was that I do not know the meaning of some of the jargon used for the diving equipment and the underwater structures, so I had some difficulty picturing the scene in a lot of cases.  That’s why I think it would translate well to a movie, the visual being easier to understand for someone like me.

Also, the author expounds at great length on the thought processes and feelings of the two men trapped underwater who are convinced they are about to die.  This is probably a fine psychological study and did seem to ring true, but it is not what I expect to read when I choose a mystery.  So I found myself skimming through a lot of the material, just wanting to pick up the action thread rather than all this description, as the story really is a good one, and I was anxious to get on with it.

Other than that, this is a good read and has a satisfying ending.

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