Friday, January 14, 2011

'Lights! Camera! Murder!', Loni Emmert, 2010, One Blue Moon Press

Abigail Hale has just returned from taking her daughter Erica to the airport to start college. She is surprised to find her husband home and he is telling her that he is leaving her and the house must be sold. Abigail is shocked and realizes she must begin a new life for herself. And that new life takes her to Hollywood to fulfill a long lost dream. Abby lands a small speaking part in a hit soap opera, 'Lovers Lane'. But Abby is the last person to see the victim of a brutal murder, the leading man Dirk Saunders who is killed just outside Abby's apartment. In order to clear herself of suspicion, she needs to find this deceitful killer that she believes is among the crew and cast of the soap opera.

In 'Lights! Camera! Murder!' romance weaves a role throughout the storyline producing an interesting secondary plot. Loni Emmert's knowledge of Hollywood and the behind the scenes action is very intriguing for the reader. Loni provides a skillful narration with snappy dialogue and a cast of characters that keep the reader absorbed.
I truly enjoyed this book because it gave me some insight into a fascinating field.

Don't miss this one for a great escape!!

FTC: Book provided by author

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'The Leaf Peeper Murders', Loni Emmert and P.I. Barrington; 2010, Mainly Murder Press

Mrs. Anne Jolie Watson feels that things are getting bad even though she feels the sun on a beautiful Indian summer morning in Button Hollow, New Hampshire. As she is watering her flower beds she detects the smell of chlorine in her front garden. Anne is a member of the Button Hollow Citizens' Brigade, a group of elderly volunteers who help the sheriff's office by reporting problems they see in town. But when Sheriff Ramsey arrives on the scene, he discovers the chlorine is from a new hose. Ramsey feels the Brigade interfers with his 'real' job of being a sheriff. But then there are a series of suspicious deaths which has the Brigade up in arms and their overeagerness is hampering his investigation. On the personal side, Jeff Ramsey feels his marriage could be at risk when his wife receives a great job offer in Boston. Jeff tries to solve the baffling crime wave while learning that the radiant fall foliage cannot hide the secrets and corruption of his town, Button Hollow.

These two sisters, Loni Emmert and P.I Barrrington, have a real knack at combining a well crafted plot with a compelling secondary storyline focused on the private lives of the sheriff and other residents of Button Hollow. Anne Jolie Watson is a bit quirky at times which adds humor to her character. Jeff Ramsey is so believable with all his human sides, as sheriff and as husband Jeff.

'The Leaf Peeper Murders' is uncomplicated yet the storyline has humor, snappy dialogue and a New Hampshire setting to die for. This book skillfully displays the talents of Loni Emmert and P.I Barrington.

A truly enjoyable read! Keep it up, ladies!

FTC: Book provided by authors

Monday, January 10, 2011

'When Death Intervenes', L.C. Hayden; April, 2010; Five Star Publishing, a part of Gale Cengage Learning

Linda Randig is on the run to Minnesota when she meets Harry Bronson, a retired Dallas police detective. Her parents and husband have been murdered and someone is threatening to kill her son and grandson unless she drives cross country to Minnesota for some undisclosed reason. Branson's suggestion to aid Linda takes him on a trip that finds him in a situation with a brutal killer as well as a list of possible suspects. Bronson reunites with his former partner and they disover a web of lies and secrets based on a blatant impossibility. Now Bronson must find the killer before more bodies are found and possibly his and Linda's.

'When Death Intervenes' is thoroughly engrossing with no dull moments in this page turner mystery. L.C. Hayden has created an intriguing plot with an inredible storyline that leaves the reader guessing to the very end. Her characters are daring and diversified revealing her talent and skillfulness in her plot, setting and story telling.

Do not miss this winner!

FTC: Book provided by author.

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

'Thin Ice', 2010; Crime Stories by New England Writers; Eighth Annual Anthology; Level Best Books

'The Bank Job' by Bev Vincent is a very cleverly written plot with the story cetering on the power of loyalty and friendship among men. Vincent's story is one of my favorites and I thoroughly enjoyed the humor he injects in his cast of characters. The story sound so 'Jersey' I loved it! A quite unusual story.

Judith Green's 'A Good Safe Place' left me hanging in the end without closure or any hint of explanation, leaving me frustrated.

'Size Matters' by Sheila Connolly is a well written plot that is concise and uncomplicted with ordinary characters in an unusual situation. With her insight, Connolly has blended it all together for a delightful story with a great ending. One of my favorites!

Leslie Wheeler's 'Dead Man's Shoes' was probably my favorite. Filled with suspense and surprises to the very end. Wheeler has a special knack for portraying her characters with diversity and a little craziness. 'Dead Man's Shoes' kept me engrossed with the story line and such intriguing characters. This story was exceptionally different!!

FTC: Disclosure: Book provided by author