Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mystery. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben – Book Review

 


A man with a mysterious past must find a missing teenage girl in this shocking thriller by Harlan Coben


The Plot


A high school girl who was relentlessly bullied, disappears. No one seems to take it seriously, but a classmate is worried. When Matthew asks his grandmother (the well-known television criminal attorney, Hester Crimstein) for help in finding her, Hester asks Wilde to use his unique skills to help find Naomi.


Thirty years ago, Wilde was found as a boy living feral in the woods, with no memory of his past, not even that of his name. But his unique tracking abilities and knowledge of the woods give him an advantage in looking for Naomi.


To do this, Wilde must also go back into the community where he has never fit in and confront the powerful whose wealth and fame protect them even when they harbor secrets that could destroy the lives of millions.  Wilde must uncover these secrets before it is too late.


A Few of the Many Outstanding Reviews of The Boy From the Woods


"The Boy from the Woods  is as much an action as a psychological thriller, as much a riveting read as a superb character study in which Coben challenges himself by taking his story outside his suburban comfort zone. A must-read for any mystery or thriller fan."―Providence Journal


"The crafty Coben knows how to weave a compelling story with intriguing characters, and Wilde is one of his best . . . The narrative veers into such unexpected directions that even a true thriller aficionado will not see the multiple surprises the ending delivers."  ―Associated Press 


"There may be no other thriller writer alive today who has mastered that fundamental trick of the genre. When you start a new Coben novel, or just pick one up and read the jacket copy, you know that nothing will unfold as it seems. You can be assured that surprises will keep appearing until the final page."―BookTrib


My Opinion


Available on Amazon

The character study is one of the most fascinating Coben has ever come up with. And the ending was a complete surprise. I recommend The Boy From The Woods to all who love suspense, thrillers and mystery. 


More Book Reviews by Harlan Coben:


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*Book Review of The Boy From the Woods written by 

Wednesday Elf







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Ocean Prey by John Sandford – A Book Review



Mystery Writer John Sandford has written 30 books in the Lucas Davenport 'Prey' Series and 12 books in the Virgil Flowers Series. With Prey Series Book #31, Sandford combines these two entertaining characters into one story and has them working together to solve a crime. 


Ocean Prey is a Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers Novel.


Main Characters in John Sandford's two well-known suspense/mystery series.


The Virgil Flowers Series


The  main character of the series, Virgil Flowers, is described as tall, lean, late thirties, three times divorced, with long hair. He often wears t-shirts featuring rock bands. Virgil works at the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA). He is good friends with Lucas Davenport and is frequently mentioned in various 'Prey' novels.


The Lucas Davenport 'Prey' Series


Davenport has been a police officer, a Minneapolis detective and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigator.  In later books, including Ocean Prey, he now works for the U.S. Marshall's Office.  Lucas is tall with black hair, gray at the temples, blue eyes, and dark complexion.


Although each character has been mentioned occasionally in each other's series (as they are friends), this is the first book where they are featured working together on the same case.


Synopsis of Ocean Prey



Fan-favorite heroes Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers join forces on a deadly maritime case   


An off-duty Coast Guardsman, fishing with his family, spots a snazzy craft with extra horsepower picking up a surfaced diver who was apparently alone without a boat in the middle of the ocean. This doesn't make sense. The Coast Guardsman calls in this suspicious behavior.  The three Guardsmen who come out to investigate are shot and killed.


Since they are federal officers killed on the job, the FBI investigates. When the case stalls out, the FBI calls in the U.S. Marshall's office in the form of Lucas Davenport and his team. 


When the case turns lethal, Davenport brings in a detective whose biggest asset is having a fundamentally criminal mind: Virgil Flowers. 

Working undercover posing as a deep sea diver, with Davenport and the FBI supporting him in the background, Virgil infiltrates the group of notorious drug runners operating off the coast of Miami. They want the men responsible for the deaths of the Coast Guardsmen, but also the head of the organization which has been bringing in tons of illegal drugs in an unusual way. The main goal is to shut down the entire operation once and for all. 


Summary


Ocean Prey brings us an outstanding and exciting story starring Sandford's two favorite characters, Lucas Davenport and Virgil Flowers. This may be a suspenseful mystery story, but it is also filled with humor of the type frequently used by police personnel to lesson the tension.  The jokes and wisecracks among the characters made me smile often, and actually laugh out loud in two places. A very enjoyable read. 


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Ocean Prey Book Review written by

Wednesday Elf





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Book Review of WIN by Harlan Coben

Book Review of the Harlan Coben novel WIN

Best-selling author Harlan Coben has written 18 Non-series stand-alone suspense books, the latest of which is WIN. Coben is also well-known for his Myron Bolitar series. Throughout the Bolitar series, we follow the interaction between Myron and his best friend and 'side kick' in solving crimes, Windsor Horne Lockwood III - or Win. It wasn't until I began reading Coben's newest book WIN that I realized the story was about Myron's friend.


For the first time, we get the true inside story of Win. Myron Bolitar is not featured in this book, except for a few references about the two of them together.  Instead, for the first time, this book gives us the background on the Win we have known and loved throughout the Bolitar series.


Windsor Horne Lockwood III (Win) is an extremely wealthy man with impeccable taste and a personal approach to justice that too often lands him on the wrong side of the law.


Synopsis


When the FBI takes Win to a murder scene in the upper West Side apartment of a recluse, Win doesn't know why. Then he sees two objects there, a stolen Vermeer painting and a suitcase bearing the initials WHL3 - his initials


Win is baffled how his family heirlooms came to be in a dead man's apartment. All he knows is that they were stolen from Lockwood Manor over twenty years ago when his Uncle was murdered and his cousin Patricia was kidnapped. Even though Patricia escaped her captors, they were never apprehended, the murder of her father was never solved, and the stolen items were never recovered. 


Now the FBI reveals that the murder victim in the apartment was also the mastermind behind a notorious act of domestic terrorism. Win must figure out the connection between the two cases. 


Summary


WIN by Harlan Coben

A dead man's secrets lead our hero down a dangerous road in this thriller from the author of the Myron Bolitar series – where we first meet Win. Harlan Coben writes with wit and irony in each of his suspenseful outings . A master storyteller ~ always a delightful read.


Quick Links to more reviews of Harlan Coben:

  • Book Review of CAUGHT by Wednesday Elf
  • TV Series Review of THE STRANGER by Lou16 aka Louanne Cox
  • Book Review of WIN by Wednesday Elf


*Book Review of WIN by Harlan Coben written by 

~Wednesday Elf






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Neon Prey by John Sandford – Book Review

 


Neon Prey, a mystery suspense thriller in John Sandford's Lucus Davenport series. 


Main Character


Lucus Davenport is a former Minneapolis homicide detective and later worked as an investigator with the Minnesota Bureau of Apprehension.  He is now with the U.S. Marshall's Service. In Neon Prey he is given the assignment of finding a small-time criminal (Clayton Deese) who skipped out on bail after being arrested.


Plot Synopsis


Deese worked as a muscle-for-hire for a loan-shark. The Marshalls are looking for him mainly because they think he might be their best chance to bring down his boss and the whole illegal loan-sharking operation. 


Lucus and his team, Rae and Bob, track Deese to his home in rural Louisiana where they discover he has disappeared.  When they check out a dirt path behind Deese's cabin, they find a jungle full of graves. Now Deese is no longer a simple crook who beats people up for his loan-shark boss; he is a serial killer who has been operating for years without notice. 


Tracking a serial killer instead of just a low-level criminal who skipped bail, the Marshall's office teams up with the FBI. The search takes them to Los Angeles where Deese has a brother who may be harboring him. It is soon discovered that the brother is also a crook and has a gang of thieves who rob wealthy people in home invasions.  A Los Angeles police detective is extremely anxious to catch up with the brother and his gang. Deese and his brother are finally located in L.A., but a planned swat team attack fails to catch all of the gang members.  Deese and his brother, along with two other gang members, manage to escape. 


Through evidence found in the quarry's house, they figure out the four remaining criminals have gone to Las Vegas.  


Now, not only are Lucus Davenport, Bob and Rae from the U.S. Marshall's Office looking for them, but also the FBI, the L.A. Detective and the Las Vegas police. 


Except - the quarry is ruthless and – as Davenport will come to find – full of surprises. 


Summary


Available on Amazon


Neon Prey is #29 of 31 in the Lucas Davenport 'Prey' series. As with all of Sandford's books, this one has clever plotting, is genuinely suspenseful, and is interspersed with cop-type humor. 



Neon Prey Book Review written by

Wednesday Elf





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Monday, July 5, 2021

Blink of an Eye – Book Review

 

by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen



Readers of the mystery genre may be familiar with best-selling author Iris Johansen, who is well-known for her Eve Duncan forensic sculptor series. To date, she has written 25 books in this series. She is also the author of 22 non-series books and 4 books with Catherine Ling as the main series character, who is a shadowy CIA operative raised on the streets of Hong Kong 


In 2012, she began a new series with a new character, Kendra Michaels, who has keen senses from being blind for 20 years. Kendra now uses those exceptional senses as a consultant to the FBI and local authorities to solve difficult cases. What makes this series different from her other novels is it is written in conjunction with Iris Johansen's son Roy.


Roy Johansen is an author in his own right, having published three mystery novels prior to collaborating with his mother on, to date, eight Kendra Michaels books. 


This is a book review of Iris and Roy Johansen's latest Kendra Michaels book, Blink of an Eye.


Blink of an Eye Synopsis:


Blink of an Eye
The story features investigator Kendra Michaels, whose observational skills are worthy of a modern-day Sherlock Holmes.


Kendra was blind for her first 20 years of life, until a revolutionary surgical procedure allowed her to regain her sight.  Her powers of observation became honed during her years in the dark, allowing her to detect what other investigators don't. 


When Delilah (Dee) Winter, one of the hottest pop stars in today's music world, is kidnapped in the middle of a show at the Hollywood Bowl, authorities cannot figure out how it is done. Dr. Kendra Michaels agrees to lead the race to rescue the young singer before time runs out. 


Kendra is joined by Jessie Mercado, her long-time friend and the singer's former bodyguard who knows Delilah well. As they close in on the hideout location of the kidnappers, casualties mount up.  Desperate for leads to where Dee is being held, Kendra also joins forces with Department of Justice Special Agent Adam Lynch with whom she has had a personal relationship.  His special skills aid in the search for Dee Winter. 


But, as the true purpose of the kidnappers become clear, the trio uncover a plot they never could have imagined – leading to a showdown they won't soon forget.


Summary


Even though Blink of an Eye is Book #8 in the Kendra Michaels series, it reads easily as a stand-alone story, so it doesn't really matter in which order you read any of the books in the series. Starting with Book #8 works just fine as an introduction to this fast-paced thriller series.




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Blink of an Eye book review written by

Wednesday Elf







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Thursday, June 24, 2021

Beneath Devils Bridge by Loreth Anne White-A Book Review

 

A Book Review
Beneath Devils Bridge is a compelling mystery that had my attention from page one.  In this story the author weaves a tale about a ambitious podcaster, Trinity  Scott, who is interviewing a condemned murderer. She wants to tell the story of a 24 year old murder of a 14  year old girl in a small town in British Columbia.  The  story flips between the present day story of the podcaster and her quest for the truth and the crime that took place 24 years in the past.  The murderer Clayton Jay Pelley confessed to the crime and is now serving a life sentence, but is that all there is to the story.  When Trinity starts to dig into the past the members of the small town community are not anxious to help her uncover what really happened.



Characters

One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is the way the author developed the characters as the story progressed.  Here is a short synopsis of some of the main characters.

 Trinity Scott

 Trinity is an interesting character.  She is a podcaster who is very ambitious.  She researches cold cases and features them  on her podcasts.  At first glance you feel that her interest in this case is purely to have a great podcast.  But is that completely true or does she have some ulterior motive?

Leena Rai

Leena Rae is the murder victim in this mystery.  She is a fourteen year old girl who wants very much to belong, but she is very plain, shy and awkward.  She is often bullied and made fun of by others in her class.  On a cold November night she is brutally murdered on her way home from a "secret" bonfire in the small town of Twin Falls.  The circumstances of her murder are covered up by the people in the village till podcaster Trinity Scott brings up the case 24 years later.

Rachel Walczak

Rachel is the lead detective on the case and also the mother of one of Leena's classmates.  When she and the other detective start interviewing the students after the murder they both feel something is being hidden from them, but when a teacher confesses the case is quickly closed.

My Thoughts on the Book

I thoroughly enjoyed this book.  I like the way it was written giving both Trinity's and Rachel's perspective.  The book really pulls you in and has several twist and turns that I did  not anticipate.  It also has a lesson to be learned on what happens when bullying becomes the norm and a small town sticks together to hide the truth.



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Friday, May 7, 2021

Witness to Murder: A Darrow Mystery from Hallmark Movie Review

Witness To Murder
I think just about everyone enjoys a mystery, but we don't always desire to see the explicit crime scenes. The Darrow Mystery series from Hallmark provides mysteries without including sights that haunt us in our nightmares.

In 2019, I reviewed the Darrow & Darrow Hallmark series.  At that time, the episode, Witness to Murder, had not yet been released. Therefore, I am reviewing it separately today.

Darrow & Darrow is a law firm originally started by Claire Darrow's parents.  When Claire's father died, her mother took a position with a different law firm in New York.  However, Joanna Darrow has now returned to Darrow & Darrow to work alongside her daughter. 

In Witness to Murder, Miles Strasberg is the appointed prosecutor and Claire is the defense attorney in the case. Even though they have toyed with the idea of dating, they agree to set aside any romantic interest until the trial is over.  With Mile's ex-girlfriend investigating the case and working closely with Miles, Claire finds herself questioning if Miles had ulterior motives for suggesting they place their personal relationship on hold.


Synopsis of Witness to Murder: A Darrow Mystery 

When Cassie Piper shows up at Darrow & Darrow begging for help, Claire and Joanna are not certain they want to take Cassie's case.  After all, Cassie was responsible for Joanna being fired from the New York law firm and Joanna has no desire to run to her rescue now that she needs legal representation.  

Cassie maintains that Joanna's law firm would be the best defense law firm for her since Joanna worked with Brian Herriman, the man accusing Cassie of insider trading.  

Joanna is still debating whether to take Cassie's case when Brian Herriman contacts her and requests a meeting. She can't resist the opportunity to see her former employer pleading for her assistance. What she doesn't expect is to be a witness to murder herself and the number one suspect is Cassie Piper.  

 


If you are a Hallmark fan, or enjoy a cozy mystery with a touch of romance, then I am sure you will also love this movie! 



Currently, "Darrow & Darrow" is available on Amazon with a subscription to the Hallmark Channel.  

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Thursday, March 4, 2021

The Moonlight Child - Book Review

 

Things just aren't adding up.  Late one night, while out on her patio watching a lunar eclipse, Sharon spies what appears to be a very small child washing dishes in the kitchen of the house across her back yard fence.  How can that be?  The neighbors don't have a child that young.  And even if they did, why would she be doing dishes hours past her bedtime?  

Perhaps it is nothing, but what if it isn't?  Sharon Lemke finds herself wondering if her imagination is merely running wild.  Soon, though, when Niki, an eighteen-year-old who has recently aged out of the foster care system comes to live with her, Sharon's concerns become shared.  

As it has been said, it takes one to know one, and Niki knows plenty about what it means to be endangered.  The clues are pinging Niki's internal radar system.  She isn't willing to leave things to chance if there is a child who may be at risk.  

Though Sharon has followed proper channels (notifying the appropriate social services authorities about the unusual circumstance next door), bureaucratic wheels often turn much too slowly for those fearing the worst.

Niki and Sharon decide to take matters into their own hands.  Can they pull off a clandestine investigation without endangering themselves or others?  Is there something sinister at play here? What will happen if they are caught in the act of spying on neighbors who may not be what they outwardly appear to be?  

For me, an exceptional book is one that makes me care.  I was all in shortly after being introduced to Sharon, Niki, Mia, Jacob, and Griswold.  There was so much to love about the redemptive moments.  Of course, there are individuals you will likely despise.  Every powerful story needs that counterbalance.  

I came away from this read thinking about the people who pay attention when they feel something isn't right.  Not only that, I reflected on the difference between those who act on their intuition and those who do not.  This story drove home for me the necessity of being a noticer who actually does something for the lost and the unseen individuals of the world.

I highly recommend The Moonlight Child by Karen McQuestion.  








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Thursday, February 4, 2021

Six Weeks To Live - Book Review

Imagine going into a routine doctor's appointment and learning you have six weeks to live.  For most of us, that would be the worst news ever.  Though it is an unexpected and terrible diagnosis for forty-eight-year-old Jennifer Barnes, the real shock is yet to come.  

To cope with an anonymous, random killer like brain cancer is hard enough.  To suspect that the real killer is someone she once loved, makes everything that much more devastating.  With the end so near, will there be time to discover the truth?  

Catherine McKenzie's upcoming release, Six Weeks To Live, is stunning suspense that explores how family secrets, deception, and revenge is a cancer far more potent than glioblastoma.

Jennifer's family members doubt her sanity.  Surely, the brain cancer is warping her mind.  One would have to be losing it to believe her husband, the father of her children, could do something as diabolical as poisoning her.  It's crazy.  Or is it?

There is plenty of motive.  Jennifer's estranged husband has been relentlessly hammering her for a divorce, which she refuses to give him.  He and his new girlfriend are harboring a secret, which is more than reason enough to want to knock off the wife standing in the way of their happily ever after.  

Dare we hope Jennifer's grown girls, a complex set of triplets, might come on board to help her track down an explanation for mysterious lab results predating her terminal diagnosis?  Isn't it the least a mother can expect when things turn dire?  If only family dynamics and relationships were that easy.  

Time is very quickly running out.  Who, or what, will win in the end?  Can there even be a win in this situation?  

Six Weeks To Live is the best novel I have read all year.  You will want to pre-order your copy now.  It releases on May 4, 2021.  I received a digital galley from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  My sincere thanks to the publisher, Atria Books, and the author, Catherine McKenzie, for this deeply satisfying reading experience.  












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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Jeffrey Siger's The Mykonos Mob (Island of Secrets) Reviewed

Jeffrey Siger’s The Mykonos Mob

My accidental introduction to Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis via Jeffrey Siger’s tenth book, The Mykonos Mob, came about because of the pandemic. Limiting trips to public places means that my husband has become the designated library picker upper. Most of our library books are requested in advance online and then picked up when they are available but on this particular day I felt like reading something different and my husband left home with instructions to find me something different to read. Maybe something that was recent. Maybe a mystery or a thriller. 

He came home with a number of options including this one, The Mykonos Mob, which follows Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis who leaves Athens for the Greek island of Mykonos. To those not very familiar with Greece, like myself, Mykonos is a Greek island with a thriving tourist industry and a reputation. That is, a reputation for a busy beach scene and lots of nightlife. It is considered an international playground and may not necessarily be the kind of vacation I would be looking for but is interesting as a destination nevertheless.

In this book, Kaldis works to solve the murder of a corrupt former police officer who now runs a protection racket on Mykonos. We meet the main players who include Kaldis, his Special Crimes unit, his wife and an interesting American woman who has transplanted herself to Mykonos and who plays piano in a bar at night and solves local crimes during the day.

As an armchair traveler, I don’t think any of my ‘trips’ have included Greece. This book offered a look at the seedy underbelly of the island but also at some Greek culture. It is not a travel guide nor a travel book per se and some parts of the life reflected in this book might have you thinking you do not want to visit Mykonos but it was interesting to learn about some of the issues of life in Greece and in particular on Mykonos. The author, Jeffrey Siger, left a career as a Wall Street lawyer in New York to live on the Aegean Greek island that is Mykonos and to write books like this one. It is intentional that they share a fast moving story and some real life Greece.

RECOMMENDED?


I enjoyed The Mykonos Mob and yes, I do recommend it. I enjoyed the look into life in Greece, a place that I would like to visit one day, and I liked the main characters. I will be reading the rest of this series. I think this book would suit any man or woman who enjoys a good murder mystery as well as someone with an interest in life in modern-day Greece.

Jeffrey Siger’s Island of Secrets

BOOK LIST


Here’s the order you should read the books. Note that this book, The Mykonos Mob, is number ten in the series. Starting with number ten is not my usual style and I doubt it is yours. Another important note is that the book name was changed to Island of Secrets when it was released in paperback.

Murder in Mykonos
Assassins of Athens
Prey on Patmos
Target
Mykonos After Midnight
Sons of Sparta
Devil of Delphi
Santorini Caesars
An Aegean April
The Mykonos Mob (Island of Secrets in paperback)
A Deadly Twist

Find your Jeffrey Siger book on Amazon in hardcover, paperback or Kindle by clicking right here.

Do you like a good murder mystery?  Have you read any good fiction books set Greece that you would recommend, mystery or otherwise?

See you
at the book store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy The Mykonos Mob (or any of Jeffrey Siger’s books) here on Amazon.
Jeffrey Archer’s False Impressions Reviewed.
The Coffee House Mysteries reviewed.
Death Takes A Spin: An Upcycling Mystery reviewed.










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Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Jeffrey Archer's False Impression Book Review

Jeffrey Archer's False Impression Book ReviewI started reading both the new book about Megan and Harry and the new book about the former U.S. president before I settled in with another Jeffrey Archer book, False Impression. I found the royal book a bit pretentious, the presidential book interesting but not quite what I wanted to read at the moment and the Archer book, a conspiracy thriller, riveting. Therefore, I am able to offer you a book review today of False Impression. Which book would you have chosen?

Anyway, it turns out that the difficult year of 2020 has had a very real impact on my reading choices. I seem to want well-crafted page turners, which give me a break from the simple, everyday routine of a life that is home bound. I work online, run essential errands, take plenty of walks and, like so many that are privileged to be able to stay home to stay safe, I do not do much else or see family or friends. A book to escape with has proven essential and Jeffrey Archer has fit the bill. 

I spent a large part of the spring and summer with his mammoth seven book series the Clifton Chronicles so this is the eighth Archer book I have read this year. When recently I could not settle in with any of my own book choices, my husband magically produced Jeffrey Archer's False Impression. I expect my husband was remembering how much I enjoyed the previous Archer books and that he picked this one because it includes a good look into the art world, which I do enjoy learning about.

THE STORY


The story? Well, start with a woman murdered in England the night before 9/11. Add in a brilliant art expert currently working for a crooked banker who is obsessed with owning various masterpieces at any price with his current choice being Van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear. Finally, add the banker's unlikely secretary, an honors graduate, and a handsome FBI agent.

The trip follows these characters around numerous bends that takes us on a trip that includes the cities of  New York, London, Bucharest and Tokyo until the Van Gogh painting finally has a new owner.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED


I could not put False Impression down. I read it for hours in the middle of night. I read it when I woke up in the morning. I gave my husband a good laugh when hours later I was still reading. Not surprising really given how much I enjoyed the previous Archer books but definitely surprising given that I am usually up bright and early every morning preparing eBay parcels and working online

Yes, this book is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. It does a good job of sharing a bit about the twin towers, art history, English aristocracy and it includes a nasty villain, a female assassin and the FBI. The story keeps you wanting to know what happens next and it does so until the end of the book. I particularly enjoyed the armchair travel, the art and art history and the occasional humor, which mainly arose between the two main characters.

You should know that the book does include the tragic events of 9/11 and that the main character works in the North Tower. 
  

MORE REVIEWS


Well, this is when normally I say "but don't take my word for it" and give you a few stellar quotes from other online reviews but it turns out that this book received mixed reviews from the professionals so I cannot do that. However, Artis-Ann of The Yorkshire Times did like the book saying "she realizes and admits that you can enjoy the most erudite (knowledge filled) compositions alongside a jolly good yarn which doesn’t require very much concentration. After all, each to his own and the world would be a poorer place if we all liked the same thing." She also said that "she enjoys the temporary escapism that books offer and their variety and that this is another example." I think she summed it up nicely. 

Amazon readers liked False Impression with 88 percent of them giving the book a 4 or 5 star rating and Goodreads readers gave it a score of 3.81.

If you're looking for an easy to read in the form of an entertaining book with art, art history and travel, you should add False Impression to your list. You can see all of the versions available on Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
at the book store!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

Quick Links:

Buy False Impression on Amazon. 

Jeffrey Archer False Impression - Vincent Van Gogh's Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear








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Thursday, August 13, 2020

Review of The Last of the Moon Girls

I downloaded the book The Last of the Moon Girls by Barbara  Davis when it was on the July list for Amazon Prime's First Reads.  I probably picked it because I wasn't sure what else to pick, but I was pleasantly surprise when it turned out to be one of the best books I've read in a long time.  In fact when I got to about 50% in the book, I ended up staying up half the night until I finished the book.  I found it to be a delightful read full of interesting characters, an unsolved murder, and some thoughtful messages on forgiveness and finding ones self.


Brief Synopsis of Plot

Lizzy Moon had left the family farm in New Hampshire 8 years before to follow her dream.  She now had a promising career in New York city and no intention of ever returning to the "family" business. The family farm was a "herbal farm" and generations of Moon woman had used their various skills as "healers" to run the farm. Lizzy was to be the last of the Moon girls.

All of this was before Lizzy got a call letting her know her beloved grandmother, Althea, had passed away leaving her the farm.  Still, Lizzy had every intention of returning to pack up the farm and put it for sale.

When Lizzy returns she is met with a farm that is very deteriorated and fields of lavender that are full of weeds.  She is also confronted with the unsolved murders of two girls from 8 years before and insinuations from the towns people that followed her grandmother to her grave.

The book has a wonderful series of twists and turns that causes Lizzy to take another look at her life and what she thinks she wants.

This is an excellent read and I would highly recommend it.  I also think this would be an excellent book for a book club discussion.  There are lots of interesting topics within the book that should lead to a lively discussion.

  






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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Book Review: Missing Sister


The Missing Sister is an exciting mystery that takes place in some out of the way places in Paris:  the catacombs, the brothels, and the underworld

Characters

  • Shayna Darby is recovering from the death of her parents when she gets a startling call from Paris.  Her twin sister, who she has not been getting along with is missing and she has been called to identify a body that was pulled from the Seine, that is presumed to be her sister.  When she arrives at her sisters apartment and starts going through her sisters things she makes a startling discovery.  A message, written on a whiteboard in a code that the two sisters developed to talk to each other.  This message could only be meant for her and it said "Alive, Trust No One".  Shayna is excited that her sister is alive but now does not know who she can trust to help her.  She identifies the body as her sisters, even though she realizes it is not, so that she can keep the ruse going while she does her search.
  • Angela Darby, the wilder of the twins went to Paris to study and never returned home.  She loved Paris and was very involved in her life there.  She did not even return for her parents funerals, which became a sore spot between the twins. What was she studying and why did she disappear?  These are questions that Shayna needs to investigate.
  • Jean- Luc lives in the apartment above Angela's.  He introduces himself to Shayna as a representative of the embassy who is there to help her get accustomed to Paris. But can, Shayna trust  him or does he have something to do with Angela's disappearance.
  • Sebastian introduces himself as Angela's boyfriend, but Shayna has never heard of him before.  Of course, Angela has not told her many things the past few years.  At first she lets Seb show her around, but after seeing Angela's message she wonders.  Can she trust him?
  • Valentin- The Officer in charge of the case.  Is he someone Shayna can trust or should she take her sister's warning literally.
  • Chang-a neighbor of Angela's and the one person Shayna feels good about trusting.

Find the Book on Amazon

This book was one of the Amazon Prime's free books for March.  If you like a thrilling mystery that is a real page turner, and just a bit spooky in parts, you will love this book.




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Where the Crawdads Sing Book Review


For those who love to travel, the current global atmosphere fraught as it is with many concerns, may be keeping you at home and make a strong case for sitting back and enjoying some armchair travel. If you are interested in a trip to North Carolina’s remote marshlands, you might want to pick up the bestselling novel Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Before I read this book, North Carolina was not on my list of places that I would like to see. Now it is. I thoroughly enjoyed the book though it started off a bit oddly, at least for me. I had just finished reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming, which was an excellent book crafted with simple, straightforward language. When I picked Where the Crawdads Sing up, the language seemed overly flowery with text like, “water flows into the sky”, “clammy forests” and “the marsh’s moist breath.” It was not long, however, before I was whisked away to fictional Barkley Cove in North Carolina and wrapped up in the lives of the main characters.

THE STORY


The story? Well, simply put it is that of a girl’s marsh life from the ages of 6 to 25 both with her family and then abandoned by her family, of how she grows up barefoot and wild and, despite sparse interactions with other people, of how she manages to educate herself in her remote environment. It is rich with details about marsh life in North Carolina. It is a coming-of-age tale and it is also one of romance and murder, alternating between the years of 1952 and 1969. The author herself says that the book is about loneliness.

IS IT A TRUE STORY?


Is Where the Crawdads Sing a true story? Not really though Elle magazine says that the story has "striking echoes" to the author’s life in Africa with conservationist former husband, Mark Owens, both of who were linked to the unsolved 1995 murder of an African poacher though the couple has denied anything to do with the murder and no charges have ever been filed.

IS IT RECOMMENDED?


Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly the book, which is Owen's first work of fiction, quickly became a hugely successful book.

The Guardian says that “Surprise bestsellers are often works that relate to the times. Though set in the 1950s and 1960s, this book is, in its treatment of racial and social division and the fragile complexities of nature, obviously relevant to contemporary politics and ecology. But these themes reach a huge audience though the writer’s old-fashioned talents for compelling character, plotting and landscape description.”

Actor Reese Witherspoon, who picked Where the Crawdads Sing  as a book for her book club, helped it build momentum and is quoted in Town and Country magazine as having said, "I can’t even express how much I love this book…There is so much to her story…and it takes place in the breathtaking backdrop of the South. I didn’t want this story to end!"

A whopping eighty-six percent of Amazon readers gave it a 5 star review. It is a New York Times number one bestseller, it has been on that best seller list for 78 weeks and it has sold over 1.5 million copies.

Those are, in my opinion, a whole lot of reasons to check out for yourself the book Where the Crawdads Sing. The majority of readers have loved this book and it comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. You can find your copy on Amazon by clicking right here and if you enjoy it, be sure to watch for Witherspoon's movie version of the story.

See you
At the bookstore!

Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

QUICK LINKS:


Buy your copy of Where the Crawdads Sing here on Amazon.
Read Dawn Rae's review of Where the Crawdads Sing.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax Book Review

The Vinyl Detective Book Review

The Vinyl Detective Series: Written in Dead Wax by Andrew Cartmel


Yes, vinyl is trendy. If you are not sure what I mean by vinyl you likely will recognize the old school terms for record albums and LPs. If you don't know what a record or an LP is, you likely recognized vinyl right away. I would bet that whichever term you use to refer to “a thin plastic disk that carries recorded sound in grooves” tells us a bit about your age.

Yes, the detective in this book seeks and finds records. I'm not sure if that is his official profession though he is not employed at any other task and is chronically broke but vinyl is definitely where his knowledge lies and a way for him to make a living or at least, earn some money.

Finally, yes, some vinyl is worth seeking and reselling. A lot of it has no value but a quick search of eBay sold items as seen if you click here will reveal that some are very valuable. The result I see on eBay as I write this post shows that almost 500,000 vinyl records have been sold though I am sorry I cannot tell you in what time frame that was. The results show a first impression Motley Crue Too Fast For Love album and a Japanese Pink Floyd album each selling for almost $5,000.

I am a reseller and yes, therein at least partially lies my interest in the subject matter of this book. I do look for vinyl to resell though I know little about the subject and have sold only a very few records. After receiving a turntable at Christmas in order to play our existing collection of vintage vinyl records, I now find myself looking for vinyl that I find interesting and that I would like to own and occasionally, I add something obscure to my pile with the hopes that it will be valuable. Only a couple of times have I returned home with a record that we already own (oops) and no, I have not found a record that is valuable yet.

The back of this book says that the author, Andrew Cartmel, lives in London with “too much vinyl and just enough cats” but I have no idea if the records and the extensive back story in this book are actually real, rare and valuable or if the whole thing is fictional.  There is, however, a lot to be learned about records and the related paraphernalia in this book. Do note, as the book points out, that we don't say vinyls.

What's Dead Wax?


Just in case you are wondering, Dead Wax is the area on a record that is left blank after the music or playable area and before the paper label. Apparently, the dead wax can have important information and, in the case of this book, messages. I did not know that there was a term for this space though of course it makes sense.

What's Offensive in the Book? 


There is sex, drugs and rock and roll between the covers but not in a particularly offensive manner. Oh and yes, there is murder some of which is not nice but then when is murder ever nice? Anyway, I did not find most of it particularly gruesome or gory. Moments were fleeting and skipped past quickly.  There were a few shocks when the murders happened.

Did I Like the Book? Do I Recommend it?


Yes, I liked the book though I disliked parts. I did not like the way one relationship dissolved and was immediately replaced by another and then that situation dissolved and was immediately replaced by another again though I was heartbroken at moments for the main character and wonder what heartaches await him in the next novel.

The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax was very readable and an interesting treasure hunt for a series of very rare jazz records. It was a peek into the dedication of a true vinyl enthusiast and his network and knowledge. This detective certainly knows how to search for and find vinyl records and yes, I do recommend this book.

Who Will Like This Book? 


Anyone who likes a detective novel with a set of unusual characters should like this book as well as anyone who is curious about the world of vinyl or who is interested in reselling. Bonus, if you love cats, the cute pair in this book loves to be petted under the chin. “They do. They do. Under the chin. Yes, that’s right. Under the chin.”

What Are The Names of The Other Books in the Series?


Up next? There are four more books in this series featuring The Vinyl Detective called The Run-Out Groove, Victory Disc, Flip Back and Murder Swing. Click here to find your copy of the first book, The Vinyl Detective: Written in Dead Wax on Amazon.


See you at the bookstore!
(Or maybe at the crates of records
at the next tag sale wearing your
crate-digging shoes.)
Brenda
Treasures by Brenda


Quick Links:

Buy The Vinyl Detective on Amazon.
Check out the vinyl I have in my eBay store!






Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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Saturday, June 8, 2019

Book Review of Bomb Shell, an FBI Thriller by Catherine Coulter

Catherine Coulter has written 23 books in her FBI series featuring Dillon Savich and his wife & partner Lacey Sherlock. A few years ago I introduced you to a new series of crime thrillers by Catherine Coulter staring American-born, UK-raised Nicholas Drummond, a tough chief detective inspector with Scotland Yard in my review of “The Final Cut”. Little did I realize that a Savich/Sherlock mystery thriller written just before “The Final Cut” gives us hints within the story of this upcoming 'A Brit in the FBI Series'.

Having just finished reading this book, Bomb Shell published in 2013, I would like to review it for you now.


Bomb Shell Synopsis


Bomb Shell available on Amazon

Throughout Catherine Coulter's FBI series with Savich & Sherlock, we are introduced to other regular characters who are sometimes introduced in one book and reappear in subsequent books. One such character is FBI Special Agent Griffin Hammersmith whom we first met in "Backfire”. Griffin was working in the San Francisco office and aided Savich and Sherlock in solving a crime. Savich sees something special in Hammersmith and recruits him to join his unit in Washington, D.C. 

While on his way cross-country to his new assignment in D.C., Griffin plans to visit his sister, Delsey, who is a student at a School of Music in Maestro, Virginia. Before he gets there, a phone call tells him that Delsey has been found naked and unconscious, lying in a pool of blood that isn't hers. No one knows whose blood it is, but Griffin knows he must protect Delsey. But from whom?

Meanwhile, back in D.C., the FBI, headed by agents Savich and Sherlock, is called to the scene of a murder, a body lying naked and frozen on a bitter winter day at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial.  The victim turns out to be the grandson of a former Federal Reserve Bank chairman. Is his death revenge against his grandfather for the banking crisis, or something personal?

With two crimes to solve, one in D.C. and one in Maestro, Virginia, will the FBI agents figure it out while coping with the cold and snow that is hampering their investigation? And, is Griffin Hammersmith really gifted with a unique ability to “see” how criminals think? 


Author Catherine Coulter



Personal Photo taken off book cover
Original Photo by (c) Charles Bush
Catherine Coulter has written over 83 novels, 78 of which have been on the New York Times Best Sellers list.  Her FBI thrillers starring Savich & Sherlock now number 23. 

Coulter ends Bomb Shell with the crimes solved and Dillon and Sherlock making plans to attend a showing of the Koh-i-Noor diamond at an opening gala of the Crown Jewels on display in New York City. This is her clever seg-way into the introduction of her new series starring Nicholas Dummond ~ The Brit in the FBI ~ in The Final Cut.

Both Bomb Shell and The Final Cut are excellent mystery thrillers, as are all of Catherine Coulter's books. There is drama and danger and bits of humor and touches of caring in all her stories, without any blood & gore or extreme violence. I think this is why Catherine Coulter has become such a popular author. I hope you will enjoy Bomb Shell as much as I did.



Related Links:

The Final Cut - Book Review


(c) Wednesday Elf - 6/8/2019




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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