Dismas Hardy is back in the 18th series entry in Rule of Law.
Dismas’ longtime secretary, Phyllis, is acting strangely. Perhaps it has something Phyllis’ brother, Adam, who has just been released from prison. After disappearing for a few days, Phyllis returns to work only to be arrested as an accessory to murder. The victim is Hector, who is a known human trafficker and pimp. Concurrently, Wes has lost his bid for reelection to District Attorney. The new DA has a grudge against Dismas due to his vocal support of Wes.
There is a lot going on here. In addition to the two plots described above, there is the reforming of the original Dismas law firm plus the story ties up two previous novels’ loose ends. I wanted more about Phyllis and her legal issues. For a legal thriller, there are only minimal courtroom scenes. It reads more like a police procedural. This would be a four star read for readers that have read every book in the series. However, as a standalone, Rule of Law only rates 3 stars.
Thanks to Atria Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Jan 22 2019, Police procedural
Miraculum is a carnival with a big top, a midway, and freak show in 1922. It is also the setting for a battle of good against evil.
After the suicide of the carnival’s chicken biting geek, a mysterious well-dressed man applies for the job. Despite a lack of experience, he is hired for the job. Ruby, the daughter of the owner of the Miraculum, is a heavily tattooed snake charmer. As soon as she sees the new geek, Daniel, she feels something is off about him. As more tragedy befalls the troupe, Ruby tries to discover if Daniel is behind them.
Miraculum is a great gothic tale of good fighting evil in the picturesque 1920s carnival setting. There is a substantial paranormal aspect to the tale and it isn’t really a mystery or thriller. However, I enjoy magical realism so I relished it. It appears to be a beginning of a series so I am looking forward to another installment of Ruby and Daniel’s story.
This book is an excellent choice for fans of Neil Gaiman. 4 stars!
Thanks to Polis Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Literary Fiction, New Books, Paranormal Tagged with: circus, Jan 22 2019
The Smiling Man is a dark and compelling police procedural set during the night shift in a poor Manchester area.
Detective Aidan Waits has been stuck on the night shift by his superiors and partnered with Detective Inspector Sutty, who is not the most motivated of men. When a body is found in an abandoned hotel, with its teeth replaced, fingertips missing, and a smile on its face, only a patch helps determines who the victim is. Things just spiral further into disarray from there until the surprising conclusion.
Within the Smiling Man, the characters are so well written that they seem like real people. The gritty setting is perfect for a dark noir. There is graphic violence here but also dark humor to balance it out. Highly recommended to noir readers, this uses an innovative setting to tell a gripping tale. 4 stars!
Thanks to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: Jan 22 2019, Police procedural
In the Nowhere Child, Sammy Went is two years old when she goes missing from her home in Manson, Kentucky.
Twenty-eight years later, Kimberly is living her life quietly in Australia. She is approached by James who says he believes she is his missing sister, Sammy. After seeing a DNA test confirming their relationship, Sammy returns to Manson to meet her mother, father and sister. However, everyone in Manson seems to be hiding something. And what is with the snake-handling church her mother now embraces?
After reading thousands of thrillers and mysteries, I’m usually good at guessing the conclusion. However, not in this case. The twists toward the end came fast and furious. If you want to read a compelling and suspenseful yarn, the Nowhere Child is highly recommended. 4 stars!
Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: family drama, Jan 22 2019
The tenacious memoir of the author’s struggle with poverty and single motherhood is told in Maid.
Stephanie has dreams of going to college and becoming a writer. Those dreams are shattered by an unexpected pregnancy and an abusive baby’s daddy. With experience only as a barista in an economic downturn, Stephanie is forced into a shelter, subsidized housing and minimum wage part-time work as a Maid.
Stephanie’s inspirational story is heartwarming. Despite overwhelming odds, she continues to move forward. I particularly liked her stories of the houses she cleaned especially the ones she nicknamed the porn house and the hoarder’s house. They provided some much needed comic relief.
If you need motivation to change your life, Maid’s inspirational story can help see how even seemingly insurmountable problems can be pushed through with hard work. I hope to see another book from Stephanie in the future. 4 stars!
Thanks to Hachette Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: Jan 22 2019