Tuesday, October 25, 2016

And Then She Was Gone: A Detective Jack Stratton Novel by Christopher Greyson

Stacy Shaw was happy.  She had a nice home, a loving husband, a good new job, and she'd just found out that she was pregnant.  Life was good.  Then her car wouldn't start.  Her husband is out of town, she has no one local who could help.  She'll just leave the car there and take a short cut across the park to get home.  She doesn't realize someone is waiting for her...

Greyson Media Associates and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published and you can get a copy now.

This is the start of a new series that fascinates me.  It's the story of a boy raised in foster homes who is friends with those he met there.  His first caretaker is a black woman who is an Aunt to anyone who comes in her home.  She's still taking in foster children.  She asks Jack for a favor.  He has plans to become a cop after he's spent his time in the service and gets money for college through the GI Bill.  He fancies himself a detective.  So she asks him to check out a young black man that is taking the fall for murdering the missing woman.  She and his mother don't think he did it.

This not a good thing for Jack.  He searches all right.  He gets sideways with the cops, finds the woman's dead body, gets accused of murdering her himself, and almost ends up in jail because he's interfering in the police investigation.  He makes assumptions about the police that aren't true.  He also goes in lots of dangerous places and talks to dangerous people in his quest to prove who the real killer is.

There's lots of confusion, lies and fear involved in this case.  Jack keeps chasing the facts and then he attempts to bait the killer.  He almost loses his life.

This was an exciting read.  Not only did his Aunt believe in him, the author made me believe in him, too.  He made some mistakes along the way but he got more right than he got wrong.  I can't wait to see what case he takes on in the next book.

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Whizbang Machine by Danielle A Vann

She hasn't seen her grandfather for years, so she's thrilled he's returning home.  After her father's death, he sold everything and took off traveling.  She felt alone despite what her mother did for her.  She has no idea that Jack is bringing her a present that will be one of their lives biggest challenges...

Waldorf Publishing and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 15th.

What Elizabeth learns is that the typewriter he has given her is called a Whizbang Machine.  Nobody knows how it works and what it does.  It's a manual typewriter but it gives her fingers electrical burns.  It types its own messages.  And it expects her to right a wrong.  It tells her history is wrong and she needs to correct it.

When the machine almost kills Jack, she decides they better take it literally and try to do what it wants.  The problem is that nobody knows her family's history.  So she and Jack try to make a family tree.  The records they find are in a foreign language, so they head to the library for help.  They get help but they don't get smarter.  They get confused.

As they try to straighten out the story of ancestry, they find out about an ancient curse.  Can they stop the curse before it kills her mother?  Elizabeth should be worried if she'll live long to try.

This is an exciting, compelling story with a magical typewriter that's dangerous.  It's fast flowing and unusual and it kept my attention.  My only complaint was the ending.  I turned the page to find out what happened and it was the end of the book.  This made for a very edge of the cliff hanger.  I hate those.  It's like the paragraph hasn't been completed.  You need not give the plot of the next book away but some closure would make me feel better.  If you like cliff hangers, this has a really good one for you!

The Rachel Alexander and Dash Mysteries: This Dog for Hire, The Dog Who Knew Too Much, and A Hell of a Dog by Carol Lea Benjamin

This is a collection of the first three books in this series.  My favorite characters in these stories are the dogs.  They really steal the show from the humans!

Open Road Integrated Media and Net Galley allowed me to read these for review (thank you).  It will be published tomorrow.

This Dog for Hire is about an artist who got run down on a pier on the ocean front.  Cars weren't allowed there but someone didn't care.  Rachel gets hired to do find the dog he had and figure out who would have killed the artist.  He was down there for a gay rendezvous with someone.  Was the murderer another boyfriend?  Someone who wanted to profit from the artwork?  Someone who hated the artist?  Rachel has her work cut out for her.

Her dog, Dash, is a pit bull with black mark around his eye.  He follows her commands competently and he's willing to protect her.  She needs him.  She's always getting in trouble.

The Dog Who Knew Too Much was Lisa's Akita.  Rachel was hired by Lisa's parents to find out why she would have jumped from a window and committed suicide, leaving her dog behind.  She knows the dog saw something but she can't talk.  The more questions she asks, the less reason she has for believing it was suicide.  She was moving to China, following her life's dream.  She had tickets so she wouldn't have jumped.  So who pushed her?

In A Hell of a Dog you have a conference of dog trainers explaining their tactics.  Not many of the participants see eye-to-eye, but they should able to get along for a week.  It's not to be.  Two men in the group die.  It appears to be natural but it's not.  And when the third man dies, Rachel finally remembers something from years ago.  The killer was a surprise in this one.

Each book was a little better than the last one.  I hadn't read any of these before and appreciate the opportunity to sample them.  If you have an interest in dogs, you'll meet one in these stories you'll like.  Here's a good way to pick them up in one volume.  And there's more in the series for later.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ruler of the Night by David Morrell

In the Victorian age, riding a train to your destination was a new thing.  You got there quicker, you didn't have to suffer a carriage ride over rutted lanes, and you could even sleep if traveling at night.  You certainly never expected to get murdered...

Mulholland Books and Edelweiss allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 15th.

The Opium Eater is back again.  He's addicted to laudanum but he has a brilliant brain.  He often sees things others don't.  Scotland Yard has used him before, at the Queen's request, and he'll be involved in this case also.  You see, he and Emily were on the same train and some of the blood splashed through the train windows and got on his face.  However, trying to investigate is hard because the train must stay on schedule and clear the tracks for the next train using it.  He and his daughter stay with the body until the constables can get there.  They have to fight off wild dogs and they almost get hit by a train but they do protect it.

The two detectives that each have a crush on Emily get involved in the case, too.  The murdered man is a high level attorney that knows lots of secrets.  Which one got him killed?

Mr. Morrell's stories are always complex with many factors coming together that must be resolved.  This story talks about the Opium Eater's past, a lost friend found now, and a war with Russia.  The murderer was no one I suspected.

As I've seen in other Victorian tales, the people with money are not always nice.  In this case, the past came back to haunt the woman he just currently found.  It's sobering look at life in that era.

This says it is the final in the trilogy.  That leaves Emily's potential romance up in the air.  I wouldn't mind seeing her return in her own series.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Goblin Crown by Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Tom Fowler

Billy is starting another new school and he knows he won't fit in.  He never does.  When one attractive girl talks to him, he's almost rude trying to get away.  As he's going through the lunch line, he finds her right next to him.  He practically runs away and manages to hit a jock and spill and his lunch all over everything.  Great start at the new school or what?  Things can get worse...

Turner and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published November 15th.

When Billy and Lexi leave after school, they find Kurt (the jock) waiting with his friends.  Lexi doesn't want to back down so the exchange escalates until she decides it's time to run.  They go in a culvert but Kurt follows.  Billy loses Lexi but when he falls down, he gets up to look for her again.  She has also fallen, but she has a broken leg.  Then Kurt finds them!  All Billy can think to do is wish they were anywhere else but here. He gets his wish.

He's transported himself into a war zone where goblins are fighting humans.  The good news is that the first goblin they run across is friendly.  The bad news is that the goblins are looking for a king.  When the goblin crown is on the head of the leader, the ruby in it glows.  They decide to have Kurt try for the crown and become the new king.  That would make them safe again.  Except the ruby doesn't glow and now the goblins are all over them!

There's magic of various kinds, the humans here don't speak English (neither do the goblins), and the goblin that wants to be king wants to kill them badly.  This is a rough and tough world where survival is doubtful, even for the goblins.

This is also a grand adventure that was great fun to read.  I liked this one a lot and will be looking for the next book in the series.  Billy has a lot of challenges ahead of him.

Saddle Up For Murder by Leigh Hearon

Annie is worried about the dead sheep being found in her area.  She thinks it must be a predator.  Then one of her own sheep is a victim and it gets more personal  When she finds out they are dying from being shot with a slingshot using a deadly shot, she's even more concerned.  What if it hit a client or a horse?

Kensington Books and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  This book will be published October 25th.  This is the second in the series.  Reading the first book would fill in some blanks for you.  I read this one as a standalone and it was fine that way, too.

While she's worrying about her sheep and taking care of her horses, she's approached by a young lady looking for a job.  She needs help but she can't afford to pay someone, so she puts her off.  She certainly never expected to find her hanging in her hay barn dead.  It gets even more off putting when it's determined it's not suicide.  Who was there and did such a thing?

When an old lady is found dead at home and she's taken pills that aren't prescribed for her and aren't in her house either, it appears that was also murder.  The young woman had cared for her while she was alive.  Did she kill her?  Or were they both victims?

This was an odd tale with a twisted mystery.  I enjoyed the characters.  There's a nice collection of strong women, a determined sheriff, and a distanced boyfriend who will be returning.  The killer is not obvious.

Annie is almost too late to save her half-sister.  She's never been fond of her and thinks she needs to grow up but the near loss makes her realize she really does care for her.  I'd read another in this series.  Especially since her boyfriend just made it back in town!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Ghost Town by S J Bounds

Phil was a cop, a good cop.  The fact that he couldn't be bought off was an admirable trait but one that almost got him killed.  He turned in his badge and went back to school.  After learning how to be a dentist, he heads out west.  He's just traveling through when the widow who owns the local restaurant catches his eye. There's not much left of the old mining town but there are plenty of vacant buildings.  He decides to stay.

Endeavor Press/Pioneering Press and Net Galley allowed me to read this book for review (thank you).  It has been published.

Phil finds plenty of strange characters in town and lots of competition for the woman he has his eye on.  Alice, a strange woman whose husband left her, is busy trying to protect the widow.  She tells her men are no good.  Mary-Jane listens but doesn't necessarily take her advice.

The two major players in town are a rancher and a mine owner.  The mine owner intends to buy up the whole town.  He's got info a railroad is coming near and it will make the land worth money.  He's also determined to get Mary-Jane into his bed.  

When the local town folk start getting riled up, they ask Phil to be their sheriff.  He has no real desire to do so, but he's had a few run-ins with the crews of the big landowners and he agrees.  Now things really heat up!

This is a good old-fashioned western where most things are settled with a gun and, if you're lucky, you're the one still standing at the end.

The last paragraph is the one I enjoyed the most.  Let me know what you think when you read it.