Sunday, June 13, 2010

'How To Crash A Killer Bash', Penny Warner, Aug., 2010, Obsidian/Penguin Group

In San Francisco's Golden Gate Park area, Presley Parker is an event planner working on a mystery play for the de Young Museum fund raiser. Mary Lee Miller is the museum's major fund raiser and philanthropist who has hired Presley, but Parker finds Miller to be pompous, controlling and wants all the credit for herself. Presley has set the mystery theme with her decorating; the actors are in costume and the guests are to arrive dressed as their favorite sleuth. Mary Lee, who is playing the role of the victim is found murdered and Presley's friend, Delicia becomes the prime suspect. Distraught over her friend's predicament, Parker decides to put her investigative skills to work to prove Delicia's innocence. But as she uncovers secrets and pursues her sleuthing, she realizes that her probing could be deadly.

In 'How To Crash A Killer Bash', Penny Warner has written a concise plot with an appealing storyline as well as characters that capture your attention. Detective Melvin is portrayed as a thorn in Presley's side; her mother wins your heart with her likeability; Brad, Parker's neighbor and heart throb keeps you guessing about his intentions. Warner has produced a very enjoyable read with her talented narration.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

'Bury Your Dead', Louise Penny

In my review I neglected to acknowledge this: "FTC full disclosure - book provided by St. Martin's Press.

'Bury Your Dead', Louise Penny, Oct. 2010,St. Martin's Press/Minotaur Books

'Bury Your Dead' brings us to Quebec City where Chief Inspector Gamache is visiting his mentor Emile Comeau and attempting to deal with the sadness and guilt over those who died under his command. Flashbacks to the attack appear too frequently for Gamache. But before long a man who was a fanatic Champlain historian is murdered. His body is found in the basement of the library of the Literal and Historical Society. Inspector Langlois recognizes Gamache and requests his help to solve the crime. The main plot revolves Champlain including fascinating historical facts about Champlain, the past and present Quebec and the relationship between the separatists, French and the English.
Back in Three Pines, Inspector Belvoir, Gamache's second in command is conducting another investigation regarding the Hermit.

Louise Penny has three intertwined solidly crafted plots with history; at the same time she reveals that there truly are second chances in the world. For me, 'letting go frees you' is an undercurrent throughout the book and Penny skillfully alludes to it with her characters.

Penny never ceases to amaze me and 'Bury Your Dead' exceeded all my expectations. By far, her most intricate storyline complete with human emotions and history. I didn't want this book to end and yet I could not put it down. She has written a true page turner offering surprises and powerful characters with insight into their emotions. 'Bury Your Dead' is a stunning piece of literature and Penny delivers as only she can do. Amazing!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

'A Brewski For The Old Man', Sept.,2010, Phyllis Smallman, McArthur & Company

In the third Sherri Travis Mystery series, Smallman hits upon social issues in her narrative. Back in Jacaranda,Florida, Sherri has bought the Sunset Bar and has two renters. One is Rena who has a 16 year old daughter Lacey that helps her mother in the Beach Bag shop. Sherri notices that Lacey has an air of sadness about her that tugs at Sherri's heart. And too soon she learns why and sets out to give Lacey emotional support and some advice. Along the way, a murder occurs, Sherri unearths secrets and lies; and her father, Tully Jenkins reappears in her life. Father and daughter reconnect in an unusual way. All sorts of zany situations follow during Sherri's search for the truth. The plots intertwine and maintain interest.

Phyllis Smallman deals with a serious issue in her story but doesn't run away from it. She combines it with an absorbing storyline and captivating people. Her characters range from evil, creepy, eccentric and crazy to funny, thoughtful and engaging.

Another winner for Phyllis Smallman!