Two Girls Down
January 2nd, 2018 by diane92345

Captivating character study of what happens when two young sisters disappear one morning.

Kylie is 10 and a fire-cracker who back-talks her mother and uses her makeup. Bailey is 8 and loves school especially vocabulary.  Jamie, their mother, needed to pick up a quick kid’s birthday gift for a party for which they were already late. Jamie decided it would be faster if she ran into Kmart by herself. It shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes. When she looks out of the store a few minutes later the girls are no longer in the car.  She searches the nearby businesses but can’t find the girls.  They are gone.

Jamie’s aunt, a local real estate agent, hires private detective Alice Vega.  Vega is famous for solving several other missing children cases.  Vega hires a local private investigator, Max Caplan, to help her get access to the local police files. Caplan quit his job with the department five years earlier in a messy scandal after a kid died in lockup. Both Vega and Caplan have heavy emotional baggage but are intent on finding little Kylie and Bailey before it is too late. The girls’ family also have an interesting dynamic.

Two Girls Down is a thriller but more thought-provoking viewed as a character study.  The characters are all distinct and authentic. The resolution is unexpected and unlike a typical thriller.  4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Doubleday, and Netgalley for an advanced review copy. Two Girls Down will be published on January 9, 2018.

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July 17th, 2017 by diane92345

More like Dickens than Sherlock Holmes.


Arrowood is a private investigator in Victorian London. He is jealous of his rival, Sherlock Holmes, who gets all the rich clients while he is stuck with London’s less desirable denizens. His latest client is looking for her brother, who disappeared while working at a disreputable public house owned by the criminal mastermind, Cream. Arrowood and his sidekick Barnett have had a previous run in with Cream and must solve the missing person case without attracting the attention of Cream or his gang.

The period detail within this novel is splendid. The use of the language of the time is excellent!

There was only one other punter in the Hog that morning, a great lascar with a knife in his belt and his hair tied back like a pirate.

The characters are all believable (though not necessarily likeable) as is the dialogue. There are several twists and turns in the plot, which kept it interesting.

My problem with the book is that I expected it to be a mystery with clues sprinkled throughout leading me to guess the resolution by the time Arrowood did.  That was not the case.  While the ending was clever, I don’t see how a reader could have guessed it beforehand. One part of solution wasn’t even mentioned until the last twenty pages.  It just doesn’t seem fair so I wouldn’t recommend it to a mystery reader who wants to play detective. However, it would be an excellent book for someone interested in the lower classes of Victorian London society such as a reader of Charles Dickens.

I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway but that has not impacted my review.

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May 20th, 2016 by diane92345

A Nun and a Detective Walk Into a Bar in Las Vegas…

I have never read any other books by this author but I love mysteries that have new settings and a good hook and this book delivers on both.

The book begins in New Mexico but spends most of its time in Las Vegas. The heroine is a Benedictine nun that is on a leave of absence from her order to care for her father after he has lost part of one leg to diabetes. The sister of the Sister is missing so she and her father’s former detective partner go to Las Vegas to look for her. The book had some humor such as when the nun doesn’t understand when an elderly late night gambler mistakes her for a prostitute or when she doesn’t understand how a slot machine works. It also has some pathos and some twists and turns. The father runs a detective agency that has three cases that are all solved by the end of the book.

The heroine of this book has just the right amount of gumption. She acted as I would. She didn’t just wait for someone else to solve the clues but she didn’t act so impetuously that it would place the book in the “Had I but known” genre of gothic novels, where you get mad at the heroine for acting so stupidly.

I did not read the previous book in this series and it didn’t seem to affect my understanding of the characters or the plot of this book. I would certainly read either the previous entry in the series or any future books because I really enjoyed the heroine’s story and would like to find out what happens to her in the future.

I received this book in a Goodreads giveaway but that has not impacted my review.

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