Body in the Dumb River
December 3rd, 2019 by diane92345

A badly beaten and stabbed Body in the Dumb River washes up during a flood in East Anglia. With the local police busy assisting with the flood damage, Scotland Yard Superintendent Littlejohn is asked to solve the crime.

The victim led a double life. On weekends he was James Teagarden, a respectable married traveling salesman with three adult daughters. On weekdays as Jim Lane, he ran the hoop-la game at local fairs. He also lived with his coworker as a married couple. With double the suspects due to the victim’s double life, Littlejohn has a lot of work ahead of him.

The Body in the Dumb River was originally published in 1961. In the book’s introduction by Martin Edwards, he states “Bellairs may not belong in the front rank of crime novelists, but his books offer unpretentious entertainment.” That statement agrees with my feelings about the book precisely. I always love the British Library Crime Classics and this book is no exception. However, it does seem like the mystery was very easy to solve. If you like televised mysteries like Murder She Wrote or Midsomer Murders, you will enjoy this equally well. 3 stars.

Thanks to Poisoned Pen Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Mystery & Thrillers Tagged with: ,

Charleston Buzz Kill Book Blitz and Giveaway
December 3rd, 2019 by diane92345


Charleston Buzz Kill
Tom Turner
(Nick Janzek Charleston Mysteries, #2)
Publication date: December 1st, 2019
Genres: Adult, Mystery

About the Book

When one of the stars of the boozy, risqué reality show, Charleston Buzz, takes a bullet to the head in mid-tryst, homicide cops Nick Janzek and Delvin Rhett swing into action. Within twenty-four hours they have five suspects…problem is all of them have solid alibis.

Meanwhile, across town, is that a clandestine brothel being run by the fat cats of Charleston?
And what’s with all those college girls hanging out there?

As new partners Janzek and Rhett stumble along looking for a break, it becomes clear that some of Charleston’s most prominent citizens are up to their eyeballs in it all.

Goodreads / Amazon

EXCERPT

Vermelle LeGare had one of the oldest, most prominent surnames in Charleston. Fact is, the nicest street in Charleston was LeGare Street—pronounced Le-gree, as in Simon. Close seconds being Tradd and Church Streets.

Vermelle, though, was black and poor, a fifth-generation cleaning lady. Her husband, Willie, had just dropped her off at the corner of Broad and Church—a ten-minute walk to the house on Stoll’s Alley where Vermelle was working that day. Willie’d dropped her there because he had a big roofing job that day and didn’t want to be late. Vermelle didn’t point out to Willie that his being on time would make her late for Mr. David.

Mr. David was David Wayne Marion, a rich, handsome fifty-year-old man. Vermelle knew just how rich he was because his net worth had been published in an article in the Post & Courier when he took an ill-fated run at becoming governor. Seventy-five million, mostly in real estate, she recalled.

After he lost in his bid to become governor, Mr. David veered off in a whole different direction and—of all crazy things—ended up becoming the star of a TV reality show. He had money, looks, and success, so fame was all that was left. But Vermelle had seen the show and… well, she intended to keep her opinion to herself.

She walked down Church Street and marveled once again at the beautiful houses on the street shaded by live oak trees with their wide, majestic canopies. Her favorite was a four-story brick Georgian with a dark mahogany door and antique glass fanlight above it. The house had graceful pediments above the windows and a perfectly proportioned wall to its right. On the second floor was a classic piazza where she imagined the husband and wife sipped their sloe-gin fizzes as soon as the clock struck five. Maybe earlier.

On the next block, she passed the garage door of an elegant Federalist-style house and chuckled to herself at the angry red letters stenciled onto its garage: Do not block driveway. Violators will be persecuted to the full extent of the law.

Did that mean hanged, she wondered, or merely tarred-and- feathered? And wasn’t it… prosecuted? White people didn’t make mistakes like that… did they?

Her favorite wall in Charleston was on the next block. Its surface was dirty concrete with patches of green lichen making it look a thousand years old. The highlight of the wall was the most intricately detailed wrought iron gate she had ever seen. She wondered if it had been crafted by Philip Simmons, a blacksmith by trade and a black man by birth whose work, she had heard, had ended up in the Smithsonian Museum.

Then she passed the decrepit house with a severe lean to one side, that always caught her attention. It was a stately colonial with imposing columns but was run-down and neglected. Like the owner couldn’t afford to keep it up. She had heard Mr. David on the phone once making fun of a woman who was, “house-rich and checkbook poor” and wondered if this was her place. Mr. David went on about how the woman was from an old Charleston family but had been spotted using food stamps on the down-low at the local Harris Teeter food market.

Vermelle turned left on Stolls Alley and walked over the bumpy, broken-brick pavement. The roads were in far better shape up on Nunan Street—in the heart of the ’hood—where she lived in her two-bedroom freedman’s cottage. She had observed how the well-to-do south of Broad Street folks leaned toward the old, worn, distressed look. She had heard the word ‘quaint’ used a lot but just couldn’t see it.

At number 5 Stoll’s Alley, she rang the bell and waited.

David Marion’s Greek Revival featured grey stucco over brick— the brick peeking through in several places. Vermelle had heard how at one point in history brick had lost favor with the rich folk so they had simply stuccoed over it. As she fumbled for her key, she looked over at the bulky two-inch-thick shutters with cut-outs of palmetto trees and the flickering gas lanterns that David Marion kept on at all times.

After a minute or so, she knocked and waited. Nothing.
She knocked again.

Nothing.

Out of options, she tried the doorknob. To her surprise, it opened. That was odd. She pushed it open and stuck her head in.“Mr. David, it’s me, Vermelle.”

She walked into the hallway, the rare herring-bone heart-of-pine floor at her feet. “Mr. David,” she said again a little louder, “it’s Vermelle.”

She walked into the living room recently decorated by Madeline Littleworth Mortimer herself. “Mr. David?”

She figured he must have hurried off to shoot a scene for his dopey TV show and had forgotten to lock the house. It had happened before. She went down the hallway to his bedroom to get the sheets, towels, and his dirty clothes; the first thing she always did. The bedroom door was open, and she went in.

And there, sprawled atop the 1000-count Egyptian sheets of his king-size bed, lay David Wayne Marion buck naked and with a bullet hole in his forehead.

First, Vermelle screamed, scaring the hell out of Mr. David’s Labrador retriever, napping at the side of the bed. Then she called the cops.

Finally, she fled the house and headed straight to the AME Church up on Calhoun. All she could do now was pray for the soul of poor Mr. David.

 

Author Bio

A native New Englander, Tom Turner dropped out of college and ran a Vermont bar…into the ground. After limping back to college to get his diploma, Tom became an advertising copywriter, first in Boston then New York. After ten years of post-Mad Men life, he made a radical change and got a job in commercial real estate. Not long after that he ended up in Palm Beach, buying, renovating and selling houses along with collecting raw material for his novels. On the side, he wrote Palm Beach Nasty, its sequel, Palm Beach Poison, and a screenplay called Blood Red Sea. While at a wedding a few years later, he fell for the charm of Charleston, South Carolina, and moved there. Recently, wandering Tom moved again. This time, just down the road to Skidaway Island, outside of Savannah, where he’s writing a novel about passion and murder among his neighbors.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Bookbub

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Fire, Fog and Water
December 1st, 2019 by diane92345

Fire, Fog and Water (Sgt. Windflower Mysteries)
by Mike Martin

Author Guest Post

Enjoy the Story

In fiction, you have to suspend belief in order to follow the story. That means things like pretending to be in a different location with people that you don’t know in order to experience the full effect. Those who can’t do that often claim that they don’t like fiction books or stories, but I think it may be that they just don’t know how to let themselves go and be captured by the story or the characters. I also think they are missing out on a great deal of fun!!

What most people don’t realize is that writers have to do the same thing. Suspend our belief in the ordinary and escape to another reality, inside our heads. In my Sgt. Windflower Mystery series I use the very real town of Grand Bank, Newfoundland, as a backdrop for my stories. It settles the stories in a solid foundation of place that many people who have read the series now think they know. I hope so. But the setting is truly just the beginning. Because, with the exception of a few historical facts and bread crumbs, the rest is all imagination.

The main character, Sgt. Windflower, came out of the fog one night in Grand Bank and started telling me his story. All I did was write it down. Once I did that, all these other characters came along and I started writing their stories too. My main job today is to try and keep them all happy and allow each of them the appropriate time to tell their part.

If that’s not enough to stretch your imagination, there’s more. Two of Windflower’s family, his aunt and uncle, turn out to be dream weavers. They can interpret dreams, their own and others. Windflower learns how to do that too, and soon he is awake while he is dreaming and understanding the messages that come to him. I know it sounds crazy, but it really happens, at least to Windflower. He uses it to access the spirit world, the other side.

At first, Windflower appears skeptical about this whole spirit and dreaming thing. Until he starts to realize that there might actually be messages and information about himself that he can learn. That’s when he decides to ask his relatives to teach him how to do it. After a while, he comes to see that reality might be more than just what we can see in front of him. Once he accesses this power, his life becomes richer, and of course, the story gets better.

Now dreams and dream interpretation have become a central part of both Windflower and the series. In the latest book, Fire, Fog and Water, Windflower uses them to figure out what’s wrong with him, and of course, to help solve the mystery. But he has to let go of his old thinking in order to get there.

This all gets me back to the first point. You have to suspend your belief in order to enjoy the story. That is true in all fiction, and more particularly in mystery fiction. It works for Sgt. Windflower.

My Review

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Sergeant Winston Windflower is having a bad day. First, he has a fight with his wife. Then, he discovers that the roof on his B&B needs replacing. Finally, the weather in his hometown in Grand Banks, Newfoundland is foggy and wet. The ground still maintains its melting snow, now brown after mixing with the underlying dirt. At least, it’s not snowing. It is hard to realize that spring has sprung in Canada’s northernmost territory. It is March after all.

Attempting to forget his troubles by running on a nearby trail with his dog named Lady, Windflower accidentally falls and slides off the path into a snow-covered boulder. The incident seems to fit perfectly into his bad no-good day (and mood). However, when Lady begins digging at the boulder, Windflower quickly realizes his day is infinitely better than the day of the dead man that slowly emerges from the snow…

It is snowing outside as I read Fire, Fog and Water. This wouldn’t be remarkable if I lived in Michigan. However, I live 65 miles from Los Angeles in the desert. It was 79 degrees outside four days ago. However, this is the perfect book for winter weather. The descriptions of the scenery are so vivid that I feel like I should see snowflakes when I glance up from my Kindle.

With a dead man, an intentional hit-and-run, and an arson, there is plenty of plot running through Fire, Fog and Water. The Sergeant sets out trying to find the perps thinking that the crimes must be related. Since the murder victim was a low-level drug dealer, could all the crimes be related to the wave of purple fentanyl recently killing people in Canada?

The characters within Fire, Fog and Water were my favorite part of the story. There are no paper-thin characterizations here. The Sergeant seems like a real person dealing with getting older and becoming a father with depression and muted feelings. His interest in great literature and his indigenous peoples’ roots make him truly unique as a detective and a man.

I also loved the seamless merging of social issues into this Canadian police procedural. Drugs and depression are common in real life but are seldom shown so realistically in mystery fiction.

Because of the exquisite atmosphere, in-depth characterizations of rarely represented sub-cultures, and delicious food descriptions, Fire, Fog and Water definitely deserves five stars! It is highly recommended to police procedural fans! 5 stars!

Good luck in winning one of three print copies of the book

in the giveaway below!

About Fire, Fog and Water


Fire, Fog and Water (Sgt. Windflower Mysteries)
Mystery
8th in Series
Ottawa Press and Publishing (October 8, 2019)
Print Length: 280 pages
Digital ASIN: B07YWHZ675

Sergeant Winston Windflower and his trusty crew at the Grand Bank detachment of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have more than a few mysteries on their hands. Windflower suspects that the three cases—a homicide, a near-homicide and a fire on Coronation Street—are somehow connected, but how is proving difficult to determine, especially now that he must battle his unusually cranky mood, the never-ending winter that has gripped the coastal region of Newfoundland and his new, power-hungry boss.

In Fire, Fog and Water, award-winning author Mike Martin is true to form, retaining the light crime genre for which he is known while delving into the most perplexing social issues of our time, including mental health, addictions and workplace harassment. Windflower must not only solve the drug-and-death crimes that threaten the otherwise tranquil lives of Grand Bank’s residents, he must resolve his own internal conflicts before they consume him as surely as the blaze that engulfed the house on Coronation Street

About Mike Martin

Mike Martin was born in Newfoundland, Canada. He is the author of the Sgt. Windflower Mystery series. Fire, Fog and Water is the 8th book in the series. A Long Ways from Home, was shortlisted for the Bony Blithe Light Mystery Award as the best light mystery of the year and Darkest Before the Dawn won for the 2018 Bony Blithe Award. Mike is currently Chair of the Board of Crime Writers of Canada, a national organization promoting Canadian crime and mystery writers.

Author Links

Website – www.sgtwindflowermysteries.com

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/TheWalkerOnTheCapeReviewsAndMore?ref=hl

Twitter @mike54martin

Purchase Link – Amazon

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Posted in Book Tour, Diane's Favorites, Giveaways, Kindle Unlimited, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , ,

Revenge
October 14th, 2019 by diane92345

Detective Inspector Jemina Huxley is having problems with fertility and possibly her marriage while also investigating a body dump site in Revenge.

Called to investigate a body buried on a rural farming estate, Jemina has many personal issues to overcome. She can’t get pregnant. Her partner is a disheveled new father, who constantly complains about his new baby’s interruptions into his married life. When more bodies are uncovered in the same location, the police know that there is a serial killer in their midst. But what could be the motive? And why were none of the victims reported missing?

The suspects were well-characterized and the mystery was difficult to figure out. Jemina had flaws like most people but seemed very genuine. Overall, Revenge is a good solid British police procedural. 4 stars!

Thanks to Sapere Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Bloody Genius
October 7th, 2019 by diane92345

Virgil Flowers is back! His girlfriend Frankie is very pregnant with twins. He doesn’t appreciate having to bring in the hay on her farm. And, oh, he’s investigating a murder of a venerated Professor who likes to argue. The Professor is a genius who has been hit in the head—a Bloody Genius, get it?

The change of setting allows Virgil to be a fish out of water at the University of Minnesota. The reader shares his surprise about how seriously academics take small issues. Could one of the scuff-ups have led to the Professor’s murder? Or could it be his three former wives, his girlfriends, his estranged daughter, his drug dealing, his blackmailing, or something else? Truly, this guy is a winner!

I love that F*cking Flowers. His story is the best part of Bloody Genius. I also liked the pairing of Virgil with a police officer who actually appreciates his help. The mystery was good too. I totally missed the “hidden-in-plain-sight” clue that unravels the case. I like that in a book so I get to be as surprised as the author intended but can clearly see the hints in hindsight. If you like humorous police procedurals that use as little actual procedure as possible, you too will love that effing Flowers. 5 stars!

Thanks to G.P. Putnam’s Sons and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Their Last Breath
September 27th, 2019 by diane92345

Their Last Breath is an engrossing British police procedural where nothing is as you expect.

Gillian Lane is running for her life down a quiet English lane from a masked assailant when she is hit by a taxi and taken to hospital. When the police investigate, they find her husband and another woman tortured and strangled in her kitchen.

Meanwhile, retired detective Warren is called back to duty to investigate a mass death scene that appears to implicate one of the police’s own. An abandoned hospital is the site of a horrific fire where six women are found chained to their room’s wall. Five are dead when the firefighters arrive but one is clinging precariously to life. Could the name scratched on the floor, Hayat, be the same woman telling her tale of being a Syrian refugee in alternate chapters?

It doesn’t take a Mensa ID to figure out the dead woman is the refugee. But how the cases are connected and especially the thrilling twist at the end makes Their Last Breath a great read for police procedural fans. 4 stars!

Thanks to Amazon Publishing UK and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Immortal Prudence Blackwood
September 12th, 2019 by diane92345

The Immortal Prudence Blackwood is a historical police procedural with a paranormal/fantasy twist.

Prudence Blackwood is a barren and abandoned twenty-six-year-old when she stumbles into a mysterious and ancient hall in 1785. After cutting her finger on the wall, Prudence dies. Two days later, she arises out of her grave and returns to her family home. Except for her ten-year-old niece, her family rejects her, calling her a demon. After learning she is an immortal, and not the only one, she vows to help her family and their descendants. When Jack the Ripper kills her last remaining descendant in 1888, Prudence decides her new mission is to kill serial killers beginning with Jack.

By 1947, Prudence has learned survival skills and killed at least two other killers. But a new serial killer is stalking Washington DC. When the junior detective on the case hears about Prudence, they work together to find the perpetrator.

I loved the strong female character of Prudence. However, she wasn’t in the book very much. Much more time was spent describing the real serial killers’ cases. I also want to know more about the other immortals and where their power comes from. Luckily, the book’s conclusion hints strongly at a future series. I will definitely read it when it is released. My rating for the Immortal Prudence Blackwood, mainly because of the loss of focus on Prudence, is 3 stars.

Thanks to BHC Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Ice Cold Heart
September 11th, 2019 by diane92345

Minneapolis during a freezing snowstorm is the setting for the serial killer police procedural Ice Cold Heart.

Kelly Ramage is stuck in a marriage with boring Todd, an accountant. Todd won’t satisfy her need for bondage play. So Kelly looks elsewhere for satisfaction. Unfortunately, she met James, who took it too far and she died of suffocation. Detective Leo Magozzi and his partner Gino Rolseth investigate.

Petra Juric is fighting PTSD after being victimized by Peter Praljik, a notorious serial killer last seen in Minnesota eleven years earlier. After taking her happy prescribed medication, she walks into the snowy evening. She is saved from freezing by a random neighbor, Roadrunner. Roadrunner works with Leo’s wife Grace at the Monkeewrench software firm.

Peter is holding seven victims hostage in a remote cabin. He decides to kill them when he realizes that an old acquaintance is watching him. When confronted, the man states he wants to set aside their differences and work together. Is Peter’s last name Praljik and who is his unnamed accomplice?

The ice cold setting was so realistic that it cooled me down on a hot September night as I was reading Ice Cold Heart. I haven’t read any other books in the series and it was fine read as a stand-alone. The mystery was relatively is to solve but characters were well-written and genuine. Most police procedural fans will enjoy this tale. 4 stars!

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Extinction Agenda
September 6th, 2019 by diane92345

Extinction Agenda opens with a bang when an explosion kills the majority of FBI Agent James Mason’s multi-jurisdictional team. They were hunting a more lethal mutation of the bird flu virus at the Arizona-Mexico border. The flames deactivated the virus. However, Mason begins a one-man vendetta to avenge his friend and partner, Kane’s death. The cartel leaders’ who brought the deadly virus to America were out there somewhere.

Mason and a new team are tasked with following the money to bring down the cartels. When another person near Mason is killed, no one will believe it is related to the first explosion. Except for Mason, who decides to investigate on his own and on the sly.

I confess that I was worried about the negative reviews for Extinction Agenda. People seemed polarized on whether it has too much action or too many details. I think the issue is that this book is a merging of an action thriller with a police procedural. I like the unusual approach. I’ve lowered rating for thrillers that had too much action because even that gets boring after a while. Let’s face it, we’ve all read police procedurals that work faster than Ambien for inducing sleep. Combining the two makes the book’s pacing perfect: ACTION, police work, ACTION, police work, etc. I also liked the characters especially the ones lurking in the gray areas of the law. If you like both action and procedurals, I think you will enjoy this intriguing action-packed blending f both. 4 stars!

Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

Chestnut Man
September 3rd, 2019 by diane92345

A current Danish murder is entwined with an earlier closed case by a child’s Chestnut Man.

Almost a year ago, a girl named Kristine disappeared. Her mother, Rosa, is high up in Danish politics. Police find a mentally ill man who confesses to the crime and is quickly convicted. However, Kristine’s body is never found.

In the present day, Laura is killed in a graphically violent way on a local playground. Suspicion immediately falls on her live-in boyfriend. Out of town for the day, his alibi is thin. If their relationship was perfect, why had Laura changed all the house’s locks while he was gone without telling him? Her autistic son can’t help explain and he was the only witness inside the family. However, when a Chestnut Man is found at the scene of Laura’s murder with the partial fingerprint of Kristine, the investigating detectives, Thulin and Hess, decide to dig into the earlier case too.

This enthralling police procedural contains a complex and challenging mystery. Despite the rather graphic murder scenes, it is not the typical dark Nordic Noir. I adored this twisty book. It is perfect for armchair detectives who want to challenge themselves.

Even though it is over 500 pages, I was disappointed when it ended. Now I guess I will have to watch The Killing on Netflix by the same author and pray for a sequel. 5 stars!

Thanks to Harper Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Tin Badges
August 28th, 2019 by diane92345

Retired NYPD Detective Tank Rizzo is pulled back into duty to solve cold cases with a bunch of misfit (and criminal) friends in the action-filled police procedural, Tin Badges.

There are two parallel stories. The first is a (retired) police procedural of how Tank chases the scummy drug kingpin, Gonzo. The second is Tank’s personal story of his guardianship over his deceased, and disliked, brother’s son, Christopher. Christopher eventually joins Tank’s motley crew to use his computer hacking skills to investigate a home invasion of two prostitutes that were brutally assaulted.

Tin Badges is action-packed and has the feeling of a good caper movie like Ocean’s Eleven. However, many of the characters are not fully fleshed out. Hopefully, it is because this is the first book in the series. My bigger problem was that stereotypes, many not even from this century, were frequent. A gypsy fortune teller? Really? Also, sometimes the plot jumped the shark. Many of the tasks that Tank and his team did seemed beyond the scope of a civilian team. Maybe that was the point since Tank didn’t seem to rule-based even in his last day in the job where the book opens. However, it still pulled me abruptly out of the story.

Overall, this book would be good for action and caper movie fans. While I had problems suspending my disbelief, those less familiar with real police procedures may be fine with this book. 3 stars.

Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books Tagged with: ,

Death in the Covenant
August 17th, 2019 by diane92345

Seamlessly blending the history of Mormonism with a present day police procedural, Death in the Covenant is a fascinating look inside a secret world.

Heber Bentsen is a beloved pillar of the Latter Day Saints (LDS or Mormon) church. As a counselor to the church president, he is investigating a hidden church agenda. A loss of young men in the church has led to 1.5 young women for each young man. Could the perfect solution be reinstating polygamy?

When Heber is killed in an auto accident, foul play is not suspected. However, the autopsy reveals he was killed by a rock to the head and no rock was found at the scene. His longtime family friend, and former LDS member, Abbie Taylor, investigates the crime.

As someone who watches every special on plural wives, both modern and historical, I loved Death in the Covenant. I learned many details about the Latter Day Saints’ beliefs. But it was the mystery itself which will force me to read earlier episodes in this series. It is a twisty ride into an unfamiliar culture. Just when you think you have it figured out, pow, the plot shifts abruptly in another direction.

Overall, this is an excellent police procedural tackling a subject I’ve never seen in a mystery before. Please correct me in the comments if I’m wrong. I highly recommend it. 4.5 stars!

Thanks to Crooked Lane Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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

An Unsettled Grave
August 3rd, 2019 by diane92345

Monica was stopped by a policeman on a lonely country road late one night. Then she was raped by the policeman. Carrie, the sole female county detective, is dispatched to handle the case. When she ruffles the local police force by asking for “voluntary” DNA swabs, Carrie is reassigned to a new case by her politically motivated Chief in An Unsettled Grave.

Old bones of a child are dug up by a hunting dog in the rural Liston-Patterson, Pennsylvania. Hope was twelve years old in 1981 when she went missing. As the only child that age unaccounted for in the small town, the bones are likely hers. When Carrie finds evidence of the crime overlooked at the time in old case files, she decides to solve the crime. The town’s police chief just wants to provide closure for the parents—not reopen old wounds. Carrie also learns of the deaths of both of the town’s police chiefs within a day of Hope’s disappearance. Is it a coincidence? Carrie thinks not and so also investigates those deaths, labeled at the time as a suicide and a shooting by a motorcycle gang.

An Unsettled Grave is unsettling but it is also an exceptional police procedural. It flashes back to 1981 to show the reader what happened while alternating with how Carrie is using evidence to prove it today almost forty years later. You can tell it was written by a former police officer. Carrie is frustrated by politics and apathy making her job more difficult.

The story has larger themes too. Post-Traumatic Stress from the Vietnam War is almost another character in the novel. It impacts two major characters from 1981 resulting in divergent methods to handle it back in the “real world”. Bullying is described in both the present and 1981.

While the story ties into the previous book in the series, this book can easily be read as a standalone. If you love police procedurals, you must read An Unsettled Grave. It is not only my favorite police procedural this year but of all time! It is a gritty and authentic take on police work and a great mystery to boot. 5 stars!

Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: ,

Murder at the British Museum
July 21st, 2019 by diane92345

In 1894, there is a Murder in the British Museum. Private Inquiry Agent Daniel Wilson and his live-in lover Abigail Fenton, a famous archaeologist, investigate at the request of the museum director.

Esteemed Professor Lance Pickering is most famous for his work on the new King Arthur exhibit and for his new book about Arthur’s uncle, Ambrosius. That is until he is stabbed in the museum’s restroom behind a locked cubicle door.

Daniel quickly guesses how the murder was done. Unfortunately, he must work even faster to discover the who before his nemesis, Superintendent Armstrong of Scotland Yard, beats him to it.

If you enjoy learning some Arthurian and 19th century London history while reading an engaging mystery, you will enjoy Murder at the British Museum. There is also a strong feminist as the detective’s side kick plus the almost obligatory bumbling Scotland Yard employee complicating the case. I liked the no-nonsense romance between Daniel and Abigail. The mystery was good too. Overall, I rate it at 3.5 stars!

Thanks to Allison & Busby and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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The Sleepwalker
July 17th, 2019 by diane92345

Definitely the best noir I’ve read this year! The Sleepwalker is the third dark thriller in the terrific Aidan Waits series.

Down these dark hospital corridors a man must go… Aidan and his shady partner Sutty are watching a serial killer called The Sleepwalker die. The Manchester Police are hoping that the prisoner will tell Sutty where he left the body of his last victim. Instead, he denies the killing immediately before both he and Sutty are bombed in the hospital room.

While this is only the beginning of the twisty tale, I can’t even begin to tell you more without it being a spoiler. What I can do is highly recommend this gritty British noir for its impeccably nuanced characters and impressive plotting. Every noir fan must read this book! Fans of thrillers and police procedurals (though Aidan is not one to follow many rules) will enjoy it also. 5 stars!

Thanks to Doubleday UK and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Mystery & Thrillers, New Books Tagged with: , , ,

Truth or Die
July 14th, 2019 by diane92345

In Truth or Die, Detective Sergeant Imogen and her partner (and friend with benefits), DS Adrian are investigating a professor’s death. The philosophy professor’s head was bashed in with a glass paperweight. Their sleuthing uncovers an awful truth playing out at the university.

Both Imogen and Adrian are getting over recent relationships when this tale begins. While there is a mystery and some police procedures described, this seemed more an excuse to show Imogen and Adrian’s relationship moving forward rather than the other way round. There were also a lot of character names to juggle. I found myself frequently backtracking to determine who the character was that was speaking. I believe my problem was that I was trying to read this as a standalone. It would be much easier if I had the previous four books experience with many of the characters.

If you have read the previous books in this series and don’t mind some romance, frequent gore, and occasional twists in your police procedurals, you will already know whether you will enjoy Truth or Die or not. However, if you haven’t read the other books (at least the last one, The Promise), I think you will be as confused as I was while reading this one. I can only give my own review of course, so 3 stars for this character-driven thriller.

Thanks to Avon Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

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