Poppy Harmon Investigates is great fun for fans of madcap stories like those featuring Stephanie Plum and Serge Storms!
Poppy discovers soon after her husband’s death that he has gambled away their life saving and over-mortgaged the house. Poppy, a 62-year-old former C-level actress, must find some way to support herself. Her most famous television role as a private detective’s ditzy secretary makes her decide to open her own detective agency in her hometown of Palm Springs. Poppy’s daughter Heather feels her mother is wasting her time pursuing detective work. However, Poppy hires her daughter’s actor boyfriend Matt as the young and handsome face of the agency along with her two retired friends, blunt Iris and shy Violet, and Violet’s techie 12-year-old grandson Wyatt. Poppy soon gets her first case—a burglary of an elderly, still somewhat famous singer (think Doris Day) Shirley Fox. Shirley’s gated retirement community has been victim to a rash of these crimes. When a body is found by Poppy, the game suddenly gets real.
Poppy Harmon Investigates is a hilarious look at how aging is viewed in our society. I absolutely loved the characters in this book! It is hard not to see myself in Poppy’s desire to be a private eye and solve mysteries like the ones in the books she has been solving all her life. You have to admire her chutzpah in getting her California PI license and setting up her agency. When life gives her lemons, Poppy buys some vodka and makes a Vodka Collins! Heather, Matt, Iris and Violet are all characters ripe for exploration in future entries in this series.
Poppy Harmon Investigates is perfect for mystery readers of a certain age but others will also be amused by the gang’s shenanigans. It’s as if Stephanie Plum has aged 20 years, opened a detective agency but kept her zany wit. I can’t wait for the next book in the series. 5 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Kensington Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: Jul 31 2018, Private Eye
This time it’s personal for Sherlock and Savich in Paradox, the latest book in the FBI Thriller series.
Sherlock and Savich awake to an attempted kidnapping of their five-year-old son, Sean. Concurrently, Chief Ty witnesses a murder on a lake. When the lake is dragged for the victim, many old bones are found along with the new body. A old belt buckle is found with the victims that links the case to another in Sherlock and Savich’s history. The three stories intertwine as the plot plays out.
Regardless of which series I’m reading, Catherine Coulter never fails to keep me entertained. Even in the 22nd book in this series, the suspense is kept at a fever pace. Paradox begins with a breathless adrenaline rush and finishes with a twisty but not ultimately surprising finale. I liked Enigma, the immediately prior book in the series, more (review here) than this one but that was because of the science in that book. Still this book is highly recommended for thriller fans. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Gallery Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Jul 31 2018, serial killer, series, Sherlock & Savich
Five people are killed after a house party gets lethal in Measure of Darkness.
A confrontation between neighbors kills three including one of the combatants. A six-year-old is hit in his bed from crossfire. In the ensuing uproar, another party guest is run down in the street by a panicked young girl. But what of the girl found hidden in a shed strangled?
Coroner investigator, Clay Edison, is trying to determine the former name of the car victim to find her next of kin. Born a male and living on the street as female, the trans community shuts down Clay’s search for her parents. In the meantime, Clay hunts for the strangulation victim’s identity and the reason for her death.
Isaiah is targeted as the shooter when he goes to the hospital for a gunshot wound. He, one of the dead and their childhood friends Tuan can be seen on the many YouTube videos showing the confrontation. Tuan has fled. In the video, returning Tuan’s fire is Dane who is also in the wind.
Clay and Amy have their parents over for Christmas dinner. Luke, Clay’s just out of prison brother announces his engagement to surprise guest Andrea.
This is second book in the Clay Edison series after Crime Scene (review here). The books do not have to be read in order. The conclusion is twisty and satisfying. Giving a coroner investigator’s viewpoint within a traditional police procedural, Measure of Darkness is highly recommended to mystery fans. 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Ballantine, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: Coroner, Jul 31 2018, series
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.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: cozy mystery, Jul 31 2018, series
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: family drama, Jul 31 2018
Midnight Snacks are Murder is a good humorous cozy with a wonderful setting and characters. The addition of gluten-free recipes makes this series unique.
Poppy is opening a bed and breakfast with her Aunt Ginny. Her contractor, Smitty, is incompetent. Worse, her investor and former mother-in-law, Georgina, has come to help if helping means firing the maid, cancelling guest bookings and undermining Poppy’s design decisions. Things are looking up with Poppy’s love life after her husband’s death nine months earlier. There’s Tim, her high school sweetheart, and the sexy barista, Gia. Gia is buying Poppy’s gluten-free goodies for his coffee shop. But his Italian momma spends all her time trying to break up their romance. When neighborhood thefts of food and worthless items lead to murder, Poppy is intent on solving the crime and freeing the accused murderer, Aunt Ginny.
Being gluten-free, I love the inclusion of seven gluten-free recipes for Paleo Espresso Brownies, Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins, Paleo Chocolate-Orange Muffins, Paleo Banana-Walnut Muffins, Honey Maple Pecan Shortbread (with notes to convert to pie crust or Pecan Pie Bars), and Butterscotch-Oatmeal Bars. The romantic triangle is great and similar to the one in the Stephanie Plum books basically hot vs. nice. The madcap antics of Poppy and her friends and family are amusing. The mystery is more challenging than most cozy series. All in all, 4 stars!
Thanks to the publisher, Kensington Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.
Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: cozy mystery, Jul 31 2018
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: Jul 31 2018, locked room mystery