Category: New Books

Against the Claw
July 31st, 2018 by diane92345

The second Lobster Shack mystery, after Curses, Boiled Again (reviewed here), is as good as the first!  Against the Claw starts with Allie pulling lobster traps with Bertha. The last trap also pulls up a dead girl.

With Aunt Gully’s Lobster Shack expected to host a huge number of customers on the Fourth of July, a catering opportunity that is too good to pass up appears. Catering the famous modeling agent Stellene’s annual party would be excellent publicity. When Allie and her sister Lorel get the opportunity to stay on Stellene’s massive yacht with only superstar singer Eden and her guitarist boyfriend on board, it seems like the perfect day. But when Lorel’s recently ex-boyfriend Patrick is found dead in the morning in a raft tied to the yacht, the party abruptly ends.

I love the characters in the Lobster Shack books. They feel like old friends who are stuck in bad circumstances whose wits will ultimately win out over evil. The mystery was good—not to easy or too difficult to figure out. You definitely do not need to read the first book in the series, Curses, Boiled Again, to enjoy this one. Even better, Against the Claw has no spoilers to the first book so they can be read out of order. Highly recommended to cozy mystery fans. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, St Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

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Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

A Double Life
July 30th, 2018 by diane92345

Claire desperately wants to find her missing father to discover his reasons for living A Double Life.

Claire was only eight when her father bludgened her live-in babysitter Emma to death and attempted to do the same to her mother. After her mother escaped the house, her father disappeared. When she is told he may have been found, Claire reminisciences about her mother and father’s romance and life before the crime. Claire’s father is the first British Lord accused of murder in the 20th century. He and her mother were separated and planning to divorce before the incident. Could her mother have set up the crime to keep her father’s wealth?

A Double Life begins slowly with a very long flashback about how Claire’s parents relationship began. If I hadn’t been reading this book to review it, I probably would have stopped reading as it was boring and seemingly pointless. The book does have an eventful conclusion. However, the overall melancholy feel and depressingly dark inevitability was just not for me. A Double Life is recommended to those readers of literary fiction who enjoy escaping into someone else’s, so much worse, life. 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Viking Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Literary Fiction, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Gentleman's Murder
July 28th, 2018 by diane92345

A Gentleman’s Murder just made me a believer in reincarnation. In this case of Agatha Christie in this perfectly imagined locked room mystery set in 1924.

Eric Peterkin is a member of the prestigious Britannia Club, open to male war veterans only. When a wager ends in murder, Eric, an editor of mysteries, is first to find the body stabbed in the neck in the club’s vault. The list of suspects is long:

-Board members Norris, Aldershott, Bradshaw, Saxon and Wolfe

-“Old Faithful” Cully who works at the club’s front desk

-Detective Inspector Horotio Parker, sent to investigate the crime but also named on a medical file stolen from the dead man’s box in the club’s vault

When the Inspector steals evidence from the victim’s room, Eric decides to investigate the crime along with his occultist sidekick, Avery. Eric’s investigation leads to the victim’s wartime service in a English hospital and a missing Chinese nurse working as a maid within the hospital. It also reveals the not so hidden racism of the time for Eric’s mixed heritage from his Chinese mother.

Of course I wasn’t alive in 1924 but the setting in A Gentleman’s Murder seems pitch perfect compared to the many books I’ve read that were written back then. The mystery itself is just convoluted enough to make finding the killer a challenge but not impossible for fellow armchair detectives. It’s great fun for fans of British golden age mysteries. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Inkshares, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Ghosted
July 26th, 2018 by diane92345

Ghosted, the word, is when a hookup quietly ignores your texts, calls, emails and other online communications. Ghosted, the book, is a wonderful twisty love story.

Sarah and Eddie, both in their late 30s, spend a romantic week together after meeting unexpectedly. As Eddie is leaving for a holiday in Spain, both vow to meet up again after his return. However, Sarah hears nothing. Her increasingly frantic texts, calls, Facebook messages and emails go unanswered. Her best friends tell her to move on. But Sarah is convinced something tragic has happened to Eddie and just can’t let go.

Ghosted is a delightful summer beach read for mystery lovers. The story of the romance evolving, told in flashbacks, is just as entrancing as the mystery of Eddie’s disappearance. Also, Smelly has to be the best, and probably the most accurate, name for a dog either in fiction or in real life. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Pamela Dorman Books, and Edelweiss+ for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Romance Tagged with:

Nevermind of Brian Hildebrand
July 21st, 2018 by diane92345

The Nevermind of Brian Hildebrand, along with the rest of him, is run down by his own car. He is in a coma and cannot move. But he can think.

One day a 12-year-old girl, Millie, appears in his head. She is from Sedona, Arizona. She disappears as quickly as she arrived. Brian next sees a window washer who portends some connection between Brian and Millie. Brian can see illness in the people around him but has no way to warn them, of course. When a lobotomized fellow patient can hear his thoughts, Brian decides to use him to communicate to the outside world. Unfortunately, the other patient dies first of the illness Brian diagnosed.

Told entirely in the first person voice of a man in a persistent vegetative state, the Nevermind of Brian Hildebrand is completely original. If you read as much as I do (about a book a day), it is easy to get jaded and feel that there are no more original plots. How many different lies can husbands tell in romantic suspense? How many ways are there to resolve a locked room mystery? Have all the best plots already been written? This book is a powerful antidote for that feeling. Stunningly original but built on the real feelings of all with loved ones in comas (i.e., maybe they can use their blinks to send yes or no answers to questions, can they hear what we are saying). It’s a great read. However, it would have been even better with some editing of Brian’s seemingly random stream of consciousness ramblings. Still for plot alone, 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Crowsnest Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Baby Teeth
July 18th, 2018 by diane92345

Baby Teeth is a good Bad Seed thriller.

Hanna doesn’t speak but has an abundance of thoughts. Hanna loves her Daddy but hates her Mommy. Hanna is evil. Hanna is four.

Hanna has some mental health issues but feels if she can get rid of her Mommy, she would have Daddy all to herself. However, Mommy appears to have some mental health issues of her own.

The reader has to suspend their disbelief that a four-year-old could think this “rationally” and plan complex schemes to punish people. In the original Bad Seed, the child was nine, which seems more reasonable. However, once past that hurdle, the reader is in for a crazy fun ride.

Baby Teeth is highly recommended for those wanting to read a character-based thriller with an unusual protagonist. It is an intense journey into a demented and unusual worldview. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, St Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Maze Master
July 17th, 2018 by diane92345

Da Vinci Code + World War Z + Jurassic Park divided by the Bible = Maze Master.

The LucentB virus is 100% deadly and is moving outward from France. Anna enlists the help of Christian professor, Martin, to find “Marham-i-Isa, the legendary healing ointment created by Jesus to heal the sick and raise the dead”—perhaps the only hope for humanity. While searching the Middle East for the ointment, Anna is also looking for her former mentor, the famed geneticist Hakari. In a parallel plot, Hakari is being driven mad by visions of shapes and his belief that he is the second coming of Christ. Wars break out as the virus spreads and nations look desperately for a cure. On battlefields, huge “angels of light” are spotted. Have the end times prophesied by the Bible arrived? Or is it something inherited in our Denisovan pre-historic genes that started the virus and the rest is pure human folly?

I loved the Da Vinci Code back in the day but I adore this book even more! It has the genre mashup that I like so much. It’s apocalyptic and scientific. With its factual underpinnings, it could actually happen. The setting and characterization are well done. It moves at a lightning pace. Overall, it is highly recommended for thriller readers. Open-minded fans of horror, science fiction and Christian fiction might also enjoy it. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, St Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for granting my wish for an advanced copy.

Posted in Christian, Diane's Favorites, Fantasy, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: ,

Letter 44 Vol 1
July 16th, 2018 by diane92345

Captivating could-be-happening-now science-fiction plot with appealing artwork.

There is a real tradition of former presidents leaving a personal note for the new president. In Letter 44 Vol 1, the note says aliens are building a mysterious object in our solar system. No one except for a few top defense staff have been told to avoid mass panic. The note continues that the seemingly senseless middle east wars were started just to keep our soldiers in tip-top condition and to inflate the defense budget. Because of a mysterious transmission obstruction, our cameras and telescopes can’t see what is being built. A ship is hastily constructed in secret and sent with 9 military/scientists to investigate. The ship is scheduled to arrive in a few days after more than 3 years in flight.

Will the new President reveal the secret to the American people? To the other national leaders? What will the ship’s crew discover when they reach the alien object? What is its purpose?

The premise and art are great. The plot has several twists and turns. It’s hard to judge who is good and who is evil. If you like your science fiction to be thought-provoking, you can’t go wrong with Letter 44 Vol 1. Plus it’s available for free on Comixology Unlimited and Prime Reading at the time of this review. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Oni Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Graphic Novel, New Books, Science Fiction Tagged with: ,

Guess Who
July 13th, 2018 by diane92345

Guess Who is a mash-up of Saw and The Game, where nothing is what it appears.

Sheppard, a famous true crime television detective, wakes up handcuffed to the bed in a hotel room. He remembers nothing of how he arrived there. With him are five strangers: Mandy, Alan, Ryan, Constance and a nameless teenage girl wearing headphones. Worse, there is a dead body in the bathroom.

A mysterious horse-masked man appears on the television. He gives Sheppard three hours to determine which of the room’s occupants is the murderer. If he fails, the hotel will be destroyed.

As Sheppard investigates he realizes the game master knows more about him than is publicly known. Due to his drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, Sheppard struggles to solve the crime.

Guess Who reads like a movie script. It alternates between the present and the immediate past. The plot including the many twists and the ultimate reveal is good. However, the point of view changes abruptly toward the end from third person limited (Sheppard) to third person omniscient. Sometimes it was difficult to determine whose underlying motives were being revealed necessitating rereading. This threw me out of the story right before the climax. Also, some of the characters motivations were too over-the-top and unbelievable. For these reasons, 3 stars.

Thanks to the publisher, Hanover Square Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,