Friday, December 31, 2010

'Reticence of Ravens', 2010; M.M. Gornell, Aberdeen Bay

Hubert James Champion III is a melancholy man trying to escape California's Mojave Desert for the past year. He no longer works as a psychologist nor as an FBI consultant and now Hugh owns Joe's mini mart with variable opening hours. However he soon realizes tht he cannot get away when a 'special' young woman with red Medusa-like hair and covered in her father's blood is brought to him one Sunday evening. Turner Jackson has been murdered and LoraLee, his daughter, is the main suspect. Hugh is drawn into proving LoraLee's innocence, not realizing the extent of evil surrounding him. He cannot escape either his own past or trying to find the real murderer.

M.M. Gornell has written a complex plot that is solidly crafted with sub-plots. Her main charater, Hubert, is likeable despite his depression and beneath it all, Gornell has created a strong character. The storyline of 'Reticence of Ravens' is engrossing with many surprises along the way. Somehow Gornell has tied it all together with the insight and perception of her talent. A good read!

FTC: Book provided by author

'Sometimes A Great Commotion', 2010; Carolyn J. Rose, Mike Nettleton; Krill Press, LLC

Another catastrophe has hit Devil's Harbor, this time an environmental issue dealing with the water treatment plan and an antiquated sewage system. The mayor orders unprecedented water restrictions much to the complaints of the residents but they do comply. Local doomsayer Elspeth Hunsaker believes she has seen an etheral image scorched into a breaded crab cake at the Devil's Food Cafe and proclaims that it is a sign that Devil's Harbor must repent. As a result, a mass of pilgrims arrive to see this sign.
Selling lumber from the town trust land seems to be the only way to supply the funds to fix the sewer system. However the loggers are kept on hold by a tree-sitting activist; but someone takes a chainsaw to his perch and reporter Molly Donovan uncovers the real truth about his fall which puts a different perspective on the situation.

'Sometimes A Great Commotion' has a reliable and popular heroine with Molly Donovan in a town brimming with peculiar and quirky residents. Each character is well-developed and intriguing, producing a fun-filled secondary storyline. Rose and Nettleton have collaborated and given us a book that is quite enjoyable. At times you will laugh out loud. Enjoy!

FTC: Book provided by author

Friday, December 17, 2010

'Murder Most Civil', Karen Frisch, 2010;Mainly Murder Press, LLc

Boston, 1860, and Henrieta Newell Cobb, an older woman of society is told by her housekeeper of a murder on Beacon Hill. Then Henrietta is surprised by a woman visitor named Mrs. Myrh McLaren, wife of a controversial antislavery activist. She is seeking help because she thinks her husband has been murdered but does not want the police involved. Seems she and Freddy Newell have been having an affair for four months. Myrh's story seems less plausible and she evades questions or answers in a vague manner. At first Freddy defends her, but his sister Henrietta is trying to save her brother from being charged with murder. But secrets kept from long ago, slowly reveal themselves to the shock and surprise of many.

I believe I would have enjoyed 'Murder Most Civil' much more if more emphasis was written about the pre-Civil War days. Henrietta's salons were a bit boring and the storyline dragged at times. Some of Firsch's characters were on the stuffy side and not quite believable, especially Myrh. I never could figure out her antics. If, however,you peel the storyline down to a simple plot with more of the abolitionist involved, it would have been far more engrossing.

FTC: Book provided by author