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More Reviews as seen in Suspense Magazine

     Posted on Wed ,27/04/2016 by Administrator


By A.D. Scott

A.D. Scott is back with a sixth entry in her series set in the Scottish Highlands in the late 1950s.

Joanne Ross is still adjusting to her new name and position as, Mrs. McAllister, the wife of newspaperman John McAllister. It’s also meant that John’s taken on the duties of a father to Joanne’s two young daughters. When she spies an interesting story in the local weekly in Sutherland, high up in the northern-most part of Scotland, she offers to follow-up on it for her husband.

An artist living on a farm outside of Sutherland, Alice Ramsey, was charged with witchcraft, an offense still on the books even though it hasn’t been brought against anyone in over two centuries. It’s suggested that Miss Ramsey, who is well-versed in homeopathic remedies that she’d used to help nursing home residents in the town, gave a pregnant woman a tea that caused her to lose her baby.

When Joanne investigates, she finds that the instigator behind the charges is the town’s resident busybody, Mrs. Mackenzie, whose long-suffering son, Callum, is a reporter for the weekly. Joanne meets Miss Ramsey and is impressed by her fierce independence as well as her skill as an artist. Miss Ramsey beats the charges, though in their wake, her privacy is shattered by the efforts of Dougald Forsythe, an art critic who covets Miss Ramsey’s work and a person with whom she has a history. Then Joanne learns Ramsey has been found dead, a supposed suicide. Joanne thinks she was too strong-willed to end her own life. When she investigates, Joanne finds there’s much more to Ramsey than she thought, including a possible connection to a sketch by Leonardo da Vinci, as well as other secrets.

Scott tells the story from multiple viewpoints, including prefacing each chapter with a pre-history piece from Ramsey’s viewpoint. The plot construction gives a nod to Hitchcock with its use of a Maguffin, though it echoes more the leisurely and mannered English mysteries of the 1950s.

Reviewed by David Ingram  ■

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Book reviews as seen in Suspense Magazine

     Posted on Wed ,27/04/2016 by Administrator


By Delia James

A most memorable main character starring in this new series called, A Witch’s Cat Mystery, is Annabelle Amelia Blessingsound Britton. The name, a bit excessive perhaps, was also a good thing. This was grandma’s dying wish to have a namesake, and as Annabelle was on the way, her parents thought, why not? What can it hurt? Well, there was the fact that grandma with the long name was not departing the Earth anytime soon…maybe even never.

Some years later, Annabelle is now an artist and illustrator; unmarried, but not for lack of trying. She decides to spend some time in the town of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Upon arrival, she discovers a dark gray cat by the name of Alistair (AKA: The Spooky Cat) sitting in the front seat of her car; a car, by the way, that was locked up tight. Following him, the cat leads her to a fascinating little cottage. Inside, Annabelle finds that she is in the midst of a whole lot of trouble. Seems that once she crossed the threshold she immediately held a witch’s wand in her hand and realized that the furry cat was her very own familiar.

Annabelle comes upon a pleasant group of ladies who use spells, charms and potions to keep the people of Portsmouth safe from harm. Very soon after meeting this group, she finds out that Alistair’s previous owner died under extremely unusual conditions. When another local person is killed, Annabelle decides that since she’s in the position of being one who holds magic, she, her new friends, and Alistair must hunt for the culprit and stop the crimes before another soul is erased.

Much like Bewitched, the feline in this one is a blast, and Annabelle is perfect when it comes to magical thinking and doing in New Hampshire. It will be more than fun to follow her journey for a good, long time to come.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■

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More reviews as seen in the December 2015 Issue

     Posted on Mon ,29/02/2016 by Administrator


Beyond A Doubt

By Nancy Cole Silverman

Main character—a reporter for an AM radio station located in Hollywood—Carol Childs, has been called to the scene of a young girl’s murder. It seems that certain attractive young women are being pulled into the glamour of Hollywood via the internet, and have been promised that they will become stars. When Carol takes a second look, she sees that the victim was dressed for nightclubbing, but had “fallen” a long time before crashing to the actual ground. Carol is bound to investigate but has been put on the backburner in this case and can’t get her regular sources to speak up.

The following day, Carol is called to another crime scene at Hollywood’s Walk of Fame.  Marilyn Monroe’s star has been stolen. A mob around the scene are extremely unhappy and a Marilyn impersonator shoves a business card into Carol’s hand that might help her solve the previous murder. Carol is between a rock and a hard place when her friend, Gabi—who works in television—disappears, and the life of Carol’s own daughter Cate is threatened.

This is a novel of many secrets; missing women, human trafficking and more, as the author gives us a terrific story building up to a climax that will please the reader. The old saying regarding ‘people are not always what they seem’ fits perfectly in this case.

To give any more clues will spoil the plot for the reader as each character is tied into something else that would bring a good mystery mind to unveil the ending before reaching it. Therefore, just know that the pages are full of ‘whys,’ but only one solution will apply. Readers will be waiting impatiently for the next installment.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■

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Suspense Magazine Reviews as seen in the December 2015 Issue

     Posted on Mon ,29/02/2016 by Administrator


By John Connolly

In the previous novel featuring Charlie Parker, “The Wolf in Winter,” he was almost killed. In fact, he was pronounced dead. But lucky for him, he’s not, and currently lives in Boreas, Maine—a small, quiet town that’s perfect for rehabilitation. As per usual, it won’t remain peaceful for long.

The body of a Florida man has washed up on shore not far from Charlie’s rented house. His neighbor, Ruth Winter, seems to be very frightened and, Charlie being Charlie, just can’t seem to keep his nose out of the case.

As Charlie settles into his new place, a town that was named for the Greek God of the north wind, he tries hard to help Ruth out, yet she is pushing him away just as fast. Charlie is aware that Ruth is very troubled as he starts to look into the life of the corpse. He soon finds a link between the man’s death, a tragic family in Maine, and another death in Florida. Ruth, however, is hiding a secret that turns out to be connected to events concerning a Nazi death camp that took place seven decades ago.

This Parker novel is just a little different from the previous ones, as Charlie doesn’t seem to be the end-all and be-all of the story. Taking place in the ‘scary-King world’ of Maine means that a few very grisly characters and many plot twists are available at whim. Parker fans will still hang on every word. Charlie is physically broken but there’s nothing wrong with his mental abilities keeping him the still dangerous investigator. Readers will love this and be looking forward to seeing the next path that Charlie takes.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  



By Rosie Genova

Mystery writer Victoria Rienzi has come back to her Jersey shore roots to research and write a new book loosely based on her Italian ancestors, and learn the ins and outs of Casa Lido, her family’s restaurant business. Vic’s been toiling away doing unglamorous prep work in the restaurant all summer under the watchful eye, and iron fist, of her nonna—Italian for grandmother.

The Rienzi family is looking forward to celebrating a milestone the last week of August, the 70th anniversary of their restaurant. But the party may have an uninvited guest. A hurricane is headed up the coast, and the seaside town of Oceanside—and Casa Lido—are directly in the storm’s projected path. Nonna Rienzi is determined that, despite the weather forecast, the party will be held outside exactly as planned.

The party has another uninvited guest, Pietro Petrocelli, a local character whose love of booze, and lack of acquaintance with a toothbrush or a bar of soap, have earned him the nickname “Stinky Pete.” Pete knows some secrets about several Oceanside residents, including the Rienzi family. When the hurricane hits, and Pete’s body is found in the carousel house on the pier, it appears to be an accidental drowning. But Vic suspects that something more sinister is going on, and the hurricane was just a convenient excuse for someone to silence Pete for good.

“A Dish Best Served Cold” is the third in Rosie Genova’s Italian Kitchen Mysteries. It’s a perfect storm of great atmosphere, likeable characters, excellent plotting, and nifty transitions between New Jersey’s past and present. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Susan Santangelo, author of “Funerals Can Be Murder,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine  ■



By John J. Davis

The Granger family returns in the second of the Granger Spy series, and I, for one, am thrilled to see them again. John J. Davis has written a series that is not only fresh and riveting, but in many ways it is also a throwback to the golden era of mysteries—the type many of us cut our teeth on when we were young—think James Bond and Nancy Drew blended and stirred.

In “Bloody Truth,” Ron and Valerie Granger along with their teenage daughter, Leecy, are all working with the CIA. Ron, ex-CIA, and Val, ex-Mossad, both working freelance, are teamed up with Leecy, a new agency recruit to help clear an old frenemy of Ron’s, named Jens, who is being framed for stealing the world’s greatest computer hacking equipment and possibly starting a world-wide economic and political catastrophe. In order to do so, they must find the world’s greatest computer hacker and recover the stolen equipment.

What starts as a rather routine mission turns into something much greater. At stake . . . world domination!

What makes John J. Davis’s Granger Spy series so good is that it is a suspense thriller that defies genre. It is espionage, political, and a touch of YA just to name a few. Although “Bloody Truth” can be read as a stand-alone, I suggest reading “Blood Line,” the first book in the series. It will add to your reading pleasure.

In “Bloody Truth,” Davis has done what few authors have accomplished in many years; he has written a suspense thriller that can be read and enjoyed by the entire family, and for that, he is to be applauded. I highly recommend “Bloody Truth” and eagerly await the next Granger Spy novel.

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine  ■



By LynDee Walker

Fans always wait (impatiently) for another Headlines in High Heels Mystery. And for those that do, you will be talking about this one for a long time. A new book by LynDee Walker is always a treat for the mystery reader, and all will be happy to catch-up with Nichelle Clarke, crime reporter.

To begin, Nichelle hears on her scanner that a death has happened in a swanky building in town. Odd part is, she begins to get threatening messages, and when the death happens, it seems to combine the two and shoots everything into high gear. Nichelle is on her way to get some information from the detectives on the case, as she has good relationships with the law and is sure to be told whether this was a murder or a tragic death. But when her detective pal tells her that there is a gag order on the case, Nichelle goes out on her own to find the real story she craves.

Nichelle may be a reporter, but she is one in the news business that actually has ethics and doesn’t want to hurt anyone. And after a brief respite of slow news, she suddenly has her hands full with this case and one that involves a man with a rifle who has taken a hospital full of people hostage. She finds herself in a predicament, knowing that she has way too much to lose if she doesn’t throw herself into these cases and help find the reasons behind each.

“Cover Shot” is a very well written mystery, yet again, because the author gives the reader clues embedded in a spider web of twists and turns that will keep you reading until the end. Main character, Nichelle, is always very likable, and gosh knows she loves those high heels. Bring on more!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By D.E. Ireland

A sheer delight will be had by mystery fans as they jump into the second book in the Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins Mystery series, because not only is the plot a wonderful mystery, but the main characters are certainly well known and still as captivating today as they were in their own heyday.

Centered on horse-racing, these two “literary” stars are about to attend a race, the Royal Ascot, since Eliza’s father is part of a group that owns a champion horse. Lately, they have been going to races while also witnessing demonstrations by suffragettes, and when one of the group is found murdered, it turns out that the killing may be the work of a suffragette follower. And when another member of the group is killed, the people begin to fear that the entire membership is being targeted.

Eliza is being very single-minded and is determined not to become involved in another murder investigation, but Higgins really can’t wait to get started. Eliza’s mind soon changes when her father becomes a suspect, and immediately starts to aid Henry.

“Dramatic” and “brilliant” are two words that can always be used for this duo as they start to investigate the killings. From a victim saying goodbye by being trampled during a race, to another being found murdered in the posh stables, the duo gets involved quickly. Especially since there is a big race looming called the Eclipse Stakes. And there is definitely a slew of suspects from jealous wives to suffragettes to horse owners that will do anything to win.

A fast moving historical mystery that is so full of fun readers should expect to laugh, while learning all about horse-racing in the distant past, and waiting for the climax which contains many twists before it’s all over. Eliza and the Professor continue to be one of the best “teams” ever written.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Paul Watkins (Writing as Sam Eastland)

“Red Icon” is not only a standout historical that will tell readers about a completely different Stalin; it’s also a thrilling story that doesn’t stop for one single second when it comes to action.

The Red Icon called, “The Shepherd,” is priceless, and was last seen in the custody of that mad monk who was once confidant to the Tsar and Tsarina Romanov. AKA: Rasputin.

Now, in the year 1944, two Russian soldiers on the front lines are taking cover in the basement of a church. There, they discover the Red Icon which sets off a challenge between Stalin’s Inspector Pekkala and a crowd of people referred to as the Skoptsy; these people were once hunted by the secret police, sent off to Siberia, and now wish to take revenge against Russia. As the Inspector finds out about the survivors of this group who live in the forests of Siberia, he soon gains the knowledge that they’ve come back to find “The Shepherd” because it is their birthright to own.

Following one of the deadliest battles of the war between Russia and Germany, a German scientist has made a horrible gas which the two countries are still not aware of. When they come up with a new weapon of mass destruction to make their move, Inspector Pekkala has to stop them. Of course, the killing power of this gas is beyond anything previously used. In other words, Pekkala has his hands full to save the Red Icon while also defusing the deadly gas.

Author Sam Eastland/Paul Watkins is definitely at the top of the list when it comes to authors who can write creatively and, for lack of a better term, perfectly, when it comes to war. “Red Icon” will keep readers wide awake so they can see the story play out until the very end. Watkins is known as a gifted storyteller and readers will find that this novel is no exception.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Frank Hayes

This book was an absolute gem. So often cowboy heroes in the Old West all begin to sound the same, but this is a book that will have you glued to your chair. This is the second for writer, Frank Hayes, the first being “Death at the Black Bull,” and he is truly becoming one of the best.

Sheriff Virgil Dalton is the head lawman in the small town of Hayward. Dalton and his group of policemen have to cover a very large area of land in this state (one that remains unknown), and one of his Deputy’s, Jimmy Tillman, finds himself injured when a woman’s body falls over an interstate overpass and lands on the windshield of his police car. When the coroner’s office finally gets to examine her, they find that she was extremely dehydrated and had been hit by a truck just moments before she fell—the hit-and-run being the cause of death.

Soon after this happens, an elderly lady named Velma Thompson calls the office to report that her husband has disappeared. Dalton’s Office Manager, Rosita Brand, goes to the Thompson ranch and finds Velma dead on the porch and the husband still nowhere to be found. Sheriff Dalton decides to look for the missing husband, Charlie, and he heads to the High Lonesome (AKA: the rugged mountain chain behind the Thompson’s ranch), taking along the Thompson’s daughter, Marian, who wants desperately to help find her father.

That mystery, as well as the other Thompson children returning to the homestead to see if they can sell the house and put their father in a home, makes for great reading. This is an impressive book. The character’s act like honest to goodness real-life people dealing with their real-life problems, as a mystery is cast that readers will definitely love. Sheriff Virgil Dalton and his minions will hopefully come again very soon.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Suzanne Chazin

Jimmy Vega is a detective with the Lake Holly, NY, police department. Jimmy’s girlfriend, Adele Figueroa, is a lawyer educated at Harvard, and is also the founder of La Casa, which is the town’s Latino community center, in which a Latino without papers can take refuge.

In this tale Adele gets a call from Zambo, the town alcoholic. Zambo says that he has seen the baby Jesus in the arms of the Virgin Mary near La Casa. Jimmy asks Adele not to bother checking it out as it is probably something Zambo saw in a drunken dream state. But, as is par for the course, the dream was real and a baby is found dead in the woods near La Casa. Jimmy is on the case and works with the Lake Holly department searching for the child’s mother, who is soon also found dead, wearing a hoodie that belongs to Vega’s own daughter, Joy.

In the meantime, Adele has been offered a job in Washington, D.C. with a congressional candidate. She has not yet told Jimmy about it and he is not at all happy at the prospect when he finds out. As Adele is trying a case of a widower who is about to be deported because of his Hispanic descent, the ugliness of politics comes into play when the candidate who wants to hire her in D.C. refuses to help on her case because it might lose votes for him.

Jimmy and Adele are both wrapped in a story that involves murder, a Latino community’s secrets and the spiteful world of politics. The answers he comes up with might put Adele in danger, but it will definitely stun the small town of Lake Holly.

As always where this writer is concerned, the plot is deep, interesting and holds the reader from beginning to end. The subjects addressed are certainly ones that the modern day world are dealing with, which makes the plot even more interesting.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Kelly Bennett Seiler

A book that will bring people to a standstill as they ponder the question: “What if?”  Everyone is sure to have had a ‘what if’ in their lives. Like it or not, all of us at one time or another have said this small phrase, and then tried to bury it in the back of our minds.

The course of this tale is the story of Meade and Daniel. When you read their backstory, you see them grow up together and fall in love. Then, Daniel gets sick and suffers the heartbreaking end to his life. However, what you also see is the future. Fifteen years later when Meade Peterson, now a book editor, has made it on her own. Unfortunately, the one thing that is still missing from her world is love. She promised she would love Daniel forever, but forever was supposed to last a great deal longer.

In all of these fifteen years, Meade still can’t rid herself of the sorrow of his passing. She still thinks about all the things that she’ll never have now that Daniel is gone. She certainly has a life now, living in New York City…but the pain of wondering is larger than she can deny.

One day, she meets a new gentleman named, Tanner. Soon this new love brings her much joy, but the belief that she cannot give her heart to someone other than Daniel has her at a standstill. So, Meade goes back to her hometown of Austin, TX, for a chance to figure things out…instead, becoming the victim of a violent crime.

The author has certainly put together a suspenseful story, however, not a quickly plotted one. Each scene, each moment in time, is an emotional one…dealing with the “what if?” and attempting to be grateful for the now, seeing as how the future may never arrive. For people who like the dramatic element, this is certainly the book.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Christine Trent

This delightful historical mystery captured me on the first page and never let go. I know that description is used a lot, but it’s very true for this book.

Violet Harper, a series character, is a female undertaker in London in 1869. She and her husband Sam are in North Nottinghamshire and have been for four weeks while he tries to get a coal mine started. He’s having trouble finding enough workers because the 5th Duke of Portland routinely employs hundreds of locals for building projects on his property, Welbeck Abbey. When the Duke’s valet, Pearson, shows up and requests that she come to the estate on a mission that he can’t seem to state coherently, she raises a few objections, but ends up going. It turns out that she is being asked to prepare a raven for burial!

Her ministrations are interrupted, though. Things continue to get weirder and weirder, as first one worker, then another are found dead. Violet knows they’ve been murdered, but can’t convince anyone else of this. Sam gets invited to demonstrate the new technique of dynamite blasting for the underground tunnels, ballroom, chapel, unused guestrooms, and such that the Duke is having constructed, so he’s on the scene eventually. No one ever uses the ballroom, the chapel, or the many beautifully decorated guestrooms. I got a kick out of the continuously roasting chickens, too.

The Duke was presented as such an oddball, I had to look him up. A detailed Author’s Note in the back also gives information on him and other actual historical people and places that are used in the story. From the light research I did, that Duke was even stranger than portrayed here!

Seemingly disconnected deaths and other happenings keep occurring, but the author masterfully tied everything together in the end to create a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Reviewed by Kaye George, Author of “Eine Kleine Murder”  ■



By Jacopo della Quercia

A terrific book if looking for a good mystery with a slice of history. The past is just a bit odd, but real history buffs will love it. This book will turn the “Gunpowder Plot” (a group of lapsed Catholics that plotted to kill King James I by blowing up the House of Lords) into a stage for old Will Shakespeare to become the 17th century James Bond.

Working on this idea, Shakespeare, who needs no introduction, and Christopher Marlowe, a poet and playwright, are pulled into a revolutionary plan with some conspiracies to sabotage the growth of Protestantism by the Roman Catholics. Marlowe becomes the spy of Sir Thomas Walsingham, a real spymaster. In the city of London, Guy Fawkes threatens Will into writing a special play: “Macbeth and His Witches.” A very loyal Shakespeare informs Walsingham, who steps in and sends him to Sir Francis Bacon who once served as Chancellor of England.

A lot of heroes come to the forefront in this book, starting with the wily and loyal Shakespeare; the courageous, Christopher Marlowe; and, Bianca, the Dark Lady who was born a peasant, Jewish-turned nun, and then spy and assassin who went on to be Will’s significant other.

Using tons of research, the author writes a wonderful book. In fact, “Macbeth” has never been written better, and Shakespeare has never been portrayed like this. The normally surly and somewhat crazy writer is transformed into “007” and his partner, known as “W,” transforms into a spy turned well-known secretary known as, Penny.

The author has written many comedy articles for the website “” and has had works featured in the New York Times bestseller: “You Might be a Zombie and Other Bad News.” In conclusion…this writer is a real blast!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■

Suspense Magazine Book Reviews New, as seen in the October Issue part 2

     Posted on Mon ,21/12/2015 by Administrator


By Conor Brady

Taking place in Dublin, Ireland, readers meet up with an interesting police force entangled in a mystery.

It is the year 1887, marking Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, but Ireland is up in arms. The usually beautiful Irish countryside is literally on fire as the Royal Irish Constabulary and British Military fight with poor folks whose lives are threatened by very high rents. The British are responding with new crime legislation; more power for the police and more jail cells for the reformers.

When two dead bodies are found in a wooded area of Phoenix Park (one man and one boy), Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow of G Division, Dublin Metropolitan Police, sees no evidence to suggest that politics was involved. The bodies have been through horror, though, considering their faces are mutilated and they have no identification left on them. But when the Dublin Medical Examiner finds that the male victim is actually a female, a murder that was called ordinary, turns into what may be a crime of revenge. Swallow is pulled off the case of the murder of a house maid in Dublin to concentrate on this new mystery, yet he continues to look into the killing anyway.

Unfortunately, Swallow has another thing to keep him on his toes. Harriet, a student teacher and Swallow’s younger sister, is keeping company with a member of a violent Nationalist group. Adding to the worries is the fact that Ces Downes, who is the cream of the crop in the underworld of Dublin, is dying. Pretty soon her two lieutenants, Vanucchi and Cussen, will be fighting for control of the criminal empire—a battle that will come right before a visit by Prince Albert Victor, Queen Victoria’s grandson.

This is a debut novel by Conor Brady, and a true picture of 19th century political unrest in Dublin. Detective Sergeant Joe Swallow is a character so good and so intelligent, readers will scream for a sequel.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Susan May

Three mass murders in one city within weeks. What are the odds? There appears to be no connection between them except the people responsible for the crimes all led perfectly normal lives right up until they “snapped.”

Kendall Jennings, a freelance journalist, writes fluff pieces for women’s magazines, but when her work hits a low point and the rent is due, she’ll accept any assignment. The day after the first mass murder takes place, she’s asked to write a piece from a survivor’s point of view: “What’s it like to survive such a horrific ordeal?”

In the midst of riding the publicity, two more mass murders take place just days apart. These events cause her to remember another such case from twenty odd years ago. While interviewing the father of a teenager killed back then, he asks for help. He’s amassed hundreds of pages of research that link antidepressants as the linchpin to that and possibly the recent killings, but nobody will listen.

Kendall tries to interview the detectives assigned to the cases, but the lead investigator sees her as nothing but a blood-sucking leech who would hurt innocent people and mow down anyone in her path in order to write half-truths. After reading the report on the drugs, Kendall is convinced there is some validity to it. What if a drug’s side effects could alter the mind to a point where people would kill? She refuses to give up and hounds the detectives trying to convince them to listen, only alienating herself even more with the lead detective.

What if someone wanted the murders to happen? What if he or she was convinced it was the right thing to do?

Susan May has written a riveting thriller that will have you rethink everything you thought you knew about Big Pharma. Sometimes the truth is hidden in the small print . . . and sometimes, you need to dig even further. I highly recommend “Deadly Messengers” to every mystery/thriller fan.

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine ■



By Carolyn Hart

The ghost in the Carolyn Hart series is called Bailey Ruth, and she is one of the best characters going. Bailey Ruth and her husband, Bobby Mac, drowned a few years ago when their boat overturned in the Gulf, and now Bailey is called upon when needed by Wiggins, the Chief of the Department of Good Intentions. This is one of those times…

Deirdre Davenport’s daughter has just looked up at the sky and recited the words to the poem: “Star light, star bright,” ending with a request for someone to come help her mom. It seems that Wiggins is on the job when Deirdre’s daughter gets through to him with her wish, and he calls on Bailey Ruth to go to her former hometown of Adelaide, Oklahoma, to help this single mom, who is also a struggling writer, find a way to either get a job or succeed in writing a new book.

Bailey finds that Deirdre is broke and trying to support her children, while hoping to get a job on the faculty in Goddard College’s English Department. Professor Jay Knox is in charge of the conference that she is taking part in but is more interested in dating her than giving her an actual job. When Jay turns up dead as a doornail, and Deirdre’s fingerprints are found on the murder weapon, she, of course, becomes suspect number one.

Bailey Ruth knows that she’s innocent and starts her investigation of Jay’s death by finding others that he has compromised over time to prove Deirdre’s innocence.

Hart has done it again by bringing her character, Bailey Ruth, to the forefront in a really great cozy. She is a bestselling author of the Death on Demand series, as well as Bailey Ruth Ghost Novels, and readers will continue to look forward to every book she creates.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Wendy Corsi Staub

Elation will be felt knowing Staub is at it again, offering up a new and terrifying series that will have readers wanting more.

Rowan has come back to her hometown of Mundy’s Landing in upstate New York to settle down with her family. Rowan lives a good life now, but at one time she was a bit of a troublemaker. Completely changed, she now has a job as a teacher at the elementary school that she used to go to. She lives with her husband, Jake, and her youngest son, Mick, who will soon be on his way to college, following the path of his older brother and sister.

The little town of Mundy’s Landing seems a bit old-fashioned and charming to the naked eye. Of course, even the most charming hamlet holds its secrets. Mundy’s just happens to have a history of blood-soaked crime. The locals, and the town, have never come back from a killing spree called the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ murders; the brutal killing of three still unidentified girls that happened over a century ago.

As Rowan settles into small town life, a new killer who is prone to straight razors is taking out redheaded women up and down the east coast, working his way slowly to his next target. When a package arrives at Rowan’s home that makes her think of the mistakes she would like to forget from her younger days—a secret that she’s kept from Jake for fourteen years—her life starts to come undone…just as the killer arrives on the charming streets of Mundy’s Landing.

This book has a terrific plotline that keeps readers guessing up until the last page…and beyond. It takes some time to figure out who the killer is, with the tale being more than a bit frightening throughout. The biggest upside to this excellent story is that it’s the first that will be written about this odd town that holds a whopper of a secret.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Amy Stewart

In her debut novel, Stewart has taken headlines from the New York Times of 1915 and created a plausible storyline, filling in the missing portions of a true-life crime story to create a period thriller that rivals any other historical suspense novel.

When three spinster sisters, Constance, Fleurette, and Norma Kopp, have their horse and buggy totaled by a drunk driver, in an accident with one of those new-fangled driving machines, their pursuit of recovering the cost to replace their wagon is hampered by the position of the car’s driver, Henry Kaufman, a silk mill owner with ties to the Black Hand Gang. Constance, the elder of the trio, a robust woman of over six-feet ends up in a physical confrontation with the slighter Kaufman, causing more embarrassment than injury, but causing enough damage for him to wage a personal war on the girls.

The sisters live out of town, in a farmhouse, and soon find themselves under barrage from Kaufman and his men, from threats thrown through a window, attached to a brick, to home invasions and an attempt to burn them out of their homestead. With the aid of Sheriff Robert Heath, the sisters, mainly Constance, engage in an investigation of their own, even being used to help draw out the attackers until the sheriff teaches them how to shoot a handgun to protect themselves when one of his deputies could not be at their home.

With a successful outcome under their belt Constance is offered a position as the first female sheriff in New York, thrusting her into the limelight at the head of the suffragette movement when women were entering the job market. Stewart weaves an amazingly delightful tale, one I was hard pressed to put down. This novel should be listed for debut novel awards.

Reviewed by Mark P. Sadler, author of “Blood on His Hands” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine



By Lisa Brackmann

Unfortunately, this is the final novel featuring Ellie McEnroe, the extremely aggressive Iraqi war vet, and readers will be missing her as soon as they read the last page.

For those who are unaware, Ellie suffers from PTSD and became addicted to Percocet when she used the drug to treat a leg wound. Ellie makes her home in Beijing and becomes caught up with a group of young adults living a corrupt and excessive lifestyle (just because they can) using their parents’ filthy rich bank accounts.

A waitress, who served at one of the group’s social gatherings, soon turns up dead. Ellie’s business card, oddly enough, is on the corpse, and Ellie finds herself becoming suspect number one. In the meantime, Sidney Cao, a Shanghai billionaire and father of three of the group’s raucous members, asks Ellie to help him uncover the real culprit. In Ellie’s search for answers as to who did it and why the waitress met her untimely death, Ellie ends up working in the midst of corrupt politicians and businessmen, a few political activists, of course, the Beijing police force, and the Domestic Service Department that has the sole responsibility of ‘controlling’ anyone who disagrees with the system in place.

By sticking her nose into affairs that the very powerful want forgotten about, she lands in big trouble, and her journey places Ellie in a thrilling world that makes for one of the best ever suspense plots. Advice: Don’t hurry with the read, but savor it all. As readers and fans we don’t want to say goodbye to Ellie, but this is a fantastic swan song that will leave this character in imaginations long after she says goodbye.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Neil Gaiman

Some may remember this particular title; it made a splash back in 1997, in the urban fantasy genre. Different versions of the story were published after that in the U.S. as well as the U.K., but this particular copy takes various scenes that were cut from original versions and puts them back in, so that all readers can feel and experience everything that author Neil Gaiman strived to create.

The story is this: Richard Mayhew is the main character, and is a man who loves his very normal life in London. He is a businessman who appreciates his days, yet his world changes completely when one act of aid turns him on a different path.

Mayhew goes from “regular” London to “Neverwhere.” Still located in London, this is a place that lies on a subterranean level; a maze, if you will, that includes the darkest and scariest of mankind, mixed together with the kindest of beings who fight frantically for “good” to overtake “bad.” The person Mayhew helps is named Door. Door is a girl who lost her entire family at the hands of an agent. She will not rest until she finds and stops this particular murderer, and Mayhew will have to stay by her side and help her if he ever wants to see his “normal” life again.

There is the fantastical, the mysterious, suspend-your-disbelief moments; there is blood, death, and downright frightening things that this book brings to light. All of this is done in such a vibrant fashion that it makes Dr. Who look substandard. For those who have never been to Neverwhere, it’s time to go. For those who may have traveled once before, this new edition is calling out to you. There is more to see, hear and learn. Just remember, the greatest of dreams come hand-in-hand with the most terrifying nightmares where this book is concerned. So…be wary.

Reviewed by Amy Lignor, author of “The Charlatan’s Crown,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine  ■



By John Sandford and Ctein

This book is a little off-the-beaten-track for John Sandford but, as he is a terrific writer, it is certainly a must-read. There is a co-writer on this project, as well; a photographer and lover of science fiction prose, Ctein. And there is no sign of Lucas Davenport on the pages, as the plot takes the reader on a trip to leave the Earth behind and head to the rings of Saturn.

Sanders Darlington is an intern who takes a position at Caltech to keep himself busy until he can collect his inheritance. However, when he is assigned to the Sky Survey Observatory and accidently sees evidence that there is something definitely ‘out there,’ his world changes dramatically. Not only can he see this object coming very close to Saturn, but even more strange, is that whatever the object is just happens to be slowing down.

As always, heavenly bodies do not slow down but spaceships do, and soon the President decides that an investigative mission to Saturn is called for. The goal of the US is to try to keep the Chinese from sending out their own mission. Following the course of history, that doesn’t happen; some slip-ups occur and the space race is on.

Unlike their Chinese foes who seem to get all the good and none of the bad as they sail through the solar system with ease, the Americans experience problem after problem. There is an accident in space that takes the life of a crewmember, and one of their power reactors keeps shutting down. But there is a great deal to learn in the heavens, and both countries will try their absolute best to solve a riddle and claim any riches that can be found.

Scenes of beauty collide with catastrophes, as technology takes over in this incredible tale. There are also a few inside jokes for science fiction lovers, and a fabulous ending for all Sandford fans to thoroughly enjoy.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Linda O. Johnston

This is the second Superstition mystery, and Johnston continues to offer fans awesome tales that provide complete entertainment.

Rory Chasen moved into the town of Destiny, CA, when she was first introduced to readers. Destiny is known to be obsessed with superstitions. Rory thought that she would begin to lead a charmed life once she arrived but, while still a new resident, she found herself involved in a murder. Now, however, that’s all in the past. She loves her job, working as manager of the Lucky Dog Boutique and selling pet food and incidentals to dog people. She’s also the mistress of a great black and white dog named, Pluckie.

Rory’s very good friend, Gemma, is trying to get over a break-up with her boyfriend, Frank. Rory isn’t sure that she can help in the romance department but is hoping to lift Gemma’s spirits anyway. Soon Gemma seems not to need help, as she has found multiple suitors in town. But just as her happiness grows, Frank turns up uninvited and unwanted, much to Gemma’s dismay.

Misfortune abounds as Rory and Pluckie come upon the body of one of Gemma’s beaus, and Gemma and Rory find themselves both in trouble as they become suspects in the murder. Rory is already trying to redeem herself in the eyes of Police Chief Justin Halbertson, telling him she is just an innocent bystander and trying to get him to look at her as a romantic interest. But this is now the second death Rory finds herself in the middle of and the so-called ‘luck’ in Destiny continues to run bad.

Although everyone should know by now that any book with a dog in it is always good, this tale is a definite standout. So while the citizens of Destiny continue to throw pennies heads-up on the sidewalks for people to find, fans like me will fade into the sunset and wait impatiently for the next Linda O. Johnston tale: 5-Stars.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Lois Winston

Jersey girl Anastasia Pollack is still deep in debt, thanks to the untimely death of her louse of a spouse. To add much-needed cash to the family coffers, she’s rented out the space over her garage to the hunky and mysterious Zack Barnes, who’s really handy to have around when the chips are down. Soon she’ll have one less mouth to feed, because her much-married and much-widowed mother, Flora, is marrying for the sixth time and finally moving out of the house. But the wedding festivities are interrupted by the arrival of two detectives, who inform the groom that the body of his daughter has been fished out of the Delaware and Raritan Canal.

As if that isn’t bad enough, even when Flora moves out, she and her new groom live close enough to Anastasia that they’re able to pop in for dinner every night, whether they’re invited or not. And poor Anastasia is still stuck providing room and board for her Communist mother-in-law, Lucille, and her pooch, the aptly named Manifesto.

Anastasia has one more problem: she keeps finding dead bodies. This time, she discovers the body of the most unpopular woman in the neighborhood, Betty Bentworth. This grisly find is immediately followed by her discovery of still another murdered neighbor. Is there a killer targeting elderly women on Anastasia’s street? Or is the killer actually targeting Anastasia and her family, and the other deaths are merely warnings?

“A Stitch to Die For” is the fifth in the Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mysteries by Lois Winston. If you’re a reader who enjoys a well-plotted mystery and loves to laugh, don’t miss this one!

Reviewed by Susan Santangelo, author of “Funerals Can Be Murder,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine



By Sofie Kelly

This is the newest installment in A Magical Cats mystery series; a new cozy about old friends, Kathleen Paulson and her adorable, mystery-loving, magical cats, Owen and Hercules.

This time out, it is winter in Mayville Heights and Kathleen is planning a fundraiser to get money together for the ‘Reading Buddies Program,’ which is where older children help the younger ones learn to read; a program that is working very well. It’s been smooth sailing in Kathleen’s life until Dayna Chapman, ex-wife of Burtis Chapman, shows up after a long absence and mysteriously dies during the fundraiser.

It’s not so mysterious after all when Burtis informs Kathleen that Dayna is allergic to pistachio nuts that were in a chocolate she ate, which is why she died before reaching the hospital. Marcus, Kathleen’s detective boyfriend, is suspicious that this may be a murder and not so accidental. Kathleen agrees, and during the investigation following the death, the police also declare that foul play was involved.

It seems no one in town really knows much about Dayna, other than she has been gone quite a while since leaving Mayville Heights and her husband and two children behind. Before she collapsed she was seen having an argument with her ex and, of course, because of this incident and her sudden re-appearance, Burtis becomes suspect number one.

But something doesn’t feel right: Kathleen doesn’t believe that he’s the killer. So she and her cats go on the hunt for the real culprit, helping her policeman boyfriend as Marcus comes along with the odd trio in order to find the killer in a group of people that both he and Kathleen once thought they knew very well.

For readers who already know about Kathleen and her fun, magical cats, this series just gets better and better with each book.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Julie Mulhern

There’s no way a lover of suspense could turn this book down because it’s that much fun.

Ellison Russell is a widow with a teenage daughter. Her daughter is coming into the Age of Reason and is being a tad bit rebellious, leaving her mother unamused. Not to mention, Ellison and daughter, Grace, are finding themselves in situations where moral issues arise that cause Ellison to try her best to calm down her daughter as well as her own mother, who isn’t too happy either.

One day, when Ellison is watching a high-school football game, she drops her lipstick down through the cracks in the bleachers. She really doesn’t want to bother with it but being that it was expensive and a gift, she decides to go under the bleachers to retrieve it. When she finds the lipstick, unfortunately, she also finds a student, Bobby Lowell, who was once a boyfriend of her daughter, slipping away. Ellison tries to help him but is too late. Pulling her close to him, Bobby whispers the words: “Tell her I love her.”

Ellison, as her personality dictates, is off to locate the girl he was talking about so she can deliver his last message. But as the story moves along, some very funny scenes are included in this odd investigation. Not only is Ellison pulled into a strange situation, but Grace is actually on the prowl to find a new boyfriend for her mother so she can marry her off.

Ellison also finds herself in another dilemma, trying to decide whether she likes Detective Anarchy Jones who she admires a great deal, or an attorney that her mother is pushing on her. A killer is amiss, teenagers are missing, and a message needs to be delivered…Ellison is having one difficult time to say the least.

As this is the second in a series, readers should know that maybe, hopefully, there will be more to come.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Daniel Silva

In the newest entry in Daniel Silva’s Gabriel Allon series, the master Israeli spy is about at the end of his run in the field. He’s been selected to take over the Office, which suits Gabriel’s wife, Chiara, now that she’s pregnant with twins. He’d planned to spend his last few months before taking up his new position restoring a painting he recently recovered in Italy, but then the head of MI6, Graham Seymour, asks Gabriel to take on one final assignment.

The former wife of a British royal, a woman admired as much for her charitable work as for her beauty, was cruising the Caribbean with friends when her yacht disappeared in a massive explosion. An intelligence source whispers that the bombing was the work of Eamon Quinn, a master bomb-maker who got his start with the IRA during the Troubles but now has become a mercenary, working for the highest bidder. MI6 wants Quinn taken out, and to find out who paid for the Caribbean attack.

Gabriel recruits his former adversary and now close friend, Christopher Keller, to help with tracking down Quinn. Before he walked away from the British commandos and became an assassin, Keller had operated in Northern Ireland, and had almost been killed by Quinn. Keller agrees to help, to finally settle the score.

They follow a crumb trail left by Quinn through multiple countries in Europe until, once again back in England, the tables are turned and the hunters become the hunted. There’s much more at stake than what’s visible on the surface, but Gabriel learns that when it comes to vengeance, death has its advantages.

Silva’s writing always crackles with energy. He takes the reader on a ride along the serpentine intricacies of the plot, outdoing Ludlum at his best, while balancing the story with the realism of LeCarre. This has been one of the best thriller series for years now, and “The English Spy” maintains that level of quality along with its level of intensity.

Reviewed by David Ingram

Suspense Magazine Book Reviews New, as seen in October Issue

     Posted on Mon ,21/12/2015 by Administrator


By Robert Dugoni

Before you begin “Her Final Breath” by Robert Dugoni prepare for a long night. This second book in the Tracy Crosswhite series starts off running and it doesn’t slow down until you’ve turned the last page. Dugoni has written a phenomenal “Police Procedural.” Wait, let me change that; he has written a phenomenal thriller regardless of the sub-genre you want to stick it in.

Tracy Crosswhite, a police detective with the Seattle Police Department, has once again found herself in the middle of an investigation with enough twists and turns to spin her head around. Someone is targeting and killing strippers in Seattle and his MO is hauntingly familiar. Nicknamed, The Cowboy, the killer is hog-tying his victims and killing them by asphyxiation. Tracy can’t help but remember a similar murder nine years prior. A case solved by her captain, Jonny Nolasco—someone she has never seen eye-to-eye with.

As the case progresses, Tracy realizes there is a leak in the department and Captain Nolasco is looking for her to fail. But why? Well . . . I’m not giving the entire book away. For that information and for a reading experience you won’t soon forget, you’ll have to read “Her Final Breath.”

Robert Dugoni breathes life into the police procedural like never before. Put the Tracy Crosswhite series and “Her Final Breath” on your “must read” list!

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine ■



By Julia Keller

If you’re looking for a gripping tale, this is it.

Located in Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, a development company has put up an offer to purchase properties in the small town, and the property owners in Acker’s Gap are thrilled by the prospect. The company wants to build a fancy resort and the business brought into the community by said resort will be a huge plus for the local economy.

However, as with all great deals, there is one holdout. Royce Dillard will not sell his property, where he lives the quiet life with just his dogs for companionship. Dillard’s parents died on this land, along with 120+ others, when a sludge damn rupture sent thousands of gallons of water through the coal mine wiping out people as well as small communities. Royce survived, but the ordeal he went through caused him to withdraw from life and leave society far behind.

When a murder takes place in Acker’s Gap, Royce ends up on the top of the suspect list. County Prosecutor Bell Elkins has to be extremely sure that Royce is guilty, and to find out all the facts, she will have to look into what really happened when the dam broke in Acker’s Gap a very long time ago.

This book is the latest in a series by Julia Keller, as Bell Elkins tries to get into the life of Royce Dillard who is now on trial for murder. Readers will see what happens to this small town, that at one time owed their lives to the coal industry, as a new industry strives to come in and take over, letting the career of mining die a natural death. This is a very cool book, as are the others in the series.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Jon Land

Jon Land, the master of nuance, has outdone himself with his latest Caitlin Strong thriller. The seventh in the series, “Strong Light of Day” reads as a stand-alone, although I bet once you read it, you will rush to grab them all.

Jon weaves a story involving Jim Strong and Boone Masters, Caitlin and Cort Wesley’s perspective fathers, as a backdrop to an epic novel of geopolitical warfare. Once again, Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong finds herself in the middle of a storm. This one so big, you could say it’s a hurricane. What begins as a cut and dry case of cattle rustling soon develops into the potential beginning of WWIII.

The story and characters of “Strong Light of Day” are more than enough for any reader to be enthralled with this book, but where the story takes you and the social injustices it alludes to are what makes this and all of Jon Land’s books stand out. Paz, the gentle yet violent giant and the ranger’s protector, reminds us that the past is never far from our sight, and our future is what we make it and is not left to fate. Without being preachy, Land shows us the cruelty of sexism, heterosexism, bullying and greed, and he also shows us how to fight such brutality and ignorance . . . One injustice at a time.

Caitlin Strong proves that justice is not about being politically correct; it’s about caring for the underdog and doing what’s right, no matter the cost.

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine ■



By Leslie Budewitz

Erin Murphy, the creative force behind her family gourmet food market, Murphy’s Mercantile (a.k.a. The Merc), is always coming up with new ways to promote her store as well as her hometown of Jewel Bay, Montana. Not only is Jewel Bay’s location idyllic, it’s a town known for promoting homegrown and homemade Montana fare in every way possible.

Determined to get her town national attention, Erin is thrilled when Food Preneurs, one of the hottest (no pun intended) cooking shows on television, decides to showcase Jewel Bay in an upcoming episode. In addition to filming interviews with local food entrepreneurs, Erin suggests that a steak-cooking competition among three of the area’s most creative chefs be included on the program.

The contest is troubled before it even happens, as two of the three chefs present identical recipes for the Grill-off just two and a half days before the filming. And the so-called “star” of Food Preneurs, the pompous Gib Knox, threatens to cancel the contest (and maybe the show) if Erin doesn’t solve the problem immediately. As if that’s not bad enough, the producer of the show, Stacia Duval, is killed in a freak hit and run accident late at night, and one of the three competing chefs is found dead. Jewel Bay is getting national attention, all right. But definitely not the kind Erin was hoping for.

“Crime Rib” is the second in Leslie Budewitz’s Food Lovers Village mystery series, and it’s yummy fun. Five forks!

Reviewed by Susan Santangelo, author of “Funerals Can Be Murder,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine



By Carolyn Baugh

Get ready for a terrific new series by Carolyn Baugh featuring Philadelphia Police Officer Nora Khalil. Officer Khalil has been assigned to the FBI’s Safe Streets Violent Gang Task Force. (Is that not a handful to say?) There is currently a battle going on between two rival gangs on Philadelphia’s streets that are perhaps linked to two murders.

Nora, who comes from Egyptian parents, visits local religious mosques and uses her Arabic background and knowledge of Islam traditions to find the truth and, hopefully, bring the criminals to justice. Nora is also the only female member of the team and has to put up with sexism and racism on a daily basis. But as she holds her own with her colleagues, the danger rises. And when a dead body turns up in a bad section of town, she has to use her police training and her background in order to decide if this is yet another gang killing or something far worse.

This author offers up a highly interesting main character who will captivate readers. Fortunately, the author knows her subject and takes us through the streets of Philadelphia and focuses on the Muslim culture. New supporting characters are also introduced, including Nora’s protective father, and Ben Calder, a colleague that has a flirtation with Nora that may turn into something more.

It is truthful that the first book in a series is sometimes a little draggy, because of having to introduce the scene and the characters to the reader…but not this one. Knowing there will be more books with Nora to come is exciting, and soon readers are sure to become accustomed to the female Philly cop who, as the story says, has never eaten a cheesesteak. Something in Philadelphia that just isn’t done.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Kathleen Ernst

This is the sixth installment of this incredible series focusing on Chloe Ellefson, a curator at a history museum set in the state of Wisconsin. This museum tells of the cultures of immigrants (Norwegian/German) that settled in this area from Northern Europe. Chloe has a boyfriend, Roelke, a small town cop who was formerly a big city policeman. They are both a little high maintenance, with Chloe being the emotional one and Roelke liking things extremely neat and, of course, law abiding.

The main theme of the tale is based on the famous Laura Ingalls Wilder and the series of books called, “Little House on the Prairie.” In this new tale, Chloe and her sister are off to explore the various museum sites associated with Wilder history, and there are many. Chloe is taking along a quilt supposedly made by Laura Ingalls Wilder, herself, looking for evidence that will prove whether or not Laura’s hands were the ones that created this lovely and historical item. They run into some real characters along their journey, even one lady who doesn’t think that Laura even wrote the “Little House” books at all.

Unfortunately, there is also a killer amidst the travelers they run up against, and there are a slew of suspects that run from art collectors drooling to make as much money as they can to fans that are truly obsessed with the Wilder background.

Not only is the story exciting and interesting, the author has also included cool photos of Wilder homes and museums honoring Laura and her family, making the journey through the “Prairie” even more intriguing. This, as well as the rest in the series, is a super read that sparks the imagination and offers a genuine history of one of the most beloved women of all time; a woman who put Walnut Grove on the map.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Kay Finch

First in a new series titled, Bad Luck Cat Mysteries, Finch delivers a tale that is definitely for cat fanciers. And here we have a very special cat. He has been called many things by many people, but the name most used is: Devil Cat.

Sabrina Tate is a would-be mystery writer who has come to Lavender, Texas, to write her first bestseller while helping her Aunt Rowena manage her summer/vacation rental business. Sabrina has been told about a local black cat who is a jinx. This cat is said, by locals, to have been around the town for at least thirty years. The cat has the reputation of being a bad luck feline, yet Sabrina knows that there is no way possible a cat can live for thirty years.

Sabrina learns that her Aunt’s brother, Bobby Joe, is on his way to Lavender for a visit, and no one is happy about this. Seems Bobby is always looking for a handout and usually borrows or steals money when he appears. So Sabrina is off to pick up some new locks that will stop Bobby from helping himself to her aunt’s cash. As she goes to her car to pick up said security, she sees a huge black cat sitting on the hood. Sure that this is the ‘Devil Cat’ everyone is yapping about, she approaches it carefully but the cat takes off running. When she gets back, she spots the feline once again and follows it…as he leads her to a dead body who turns out to be Bobby.

Since Rowena and Bobby were heard quarreling right before Bobby died, her aunt becomes suspect number one. Luckily, Sabrina makes a new friend in the bad luck cat who is willing to help her solve the crime.

This is a memorable cozy set in a small town, and the characters, especially Hitchcock (the cat), will keep you engaged. Readers will definitely look forward to more Sabrina/Hitchcock stories in the future.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Peter May

Canada seems much more like a foreign country than usual in this polyglot setting. Amid the French-speaking Magdalen Islands (Madeleine in French), lies English-speaking Entry Island, settled in part by Scots who came during the potato famine years in the 1800s.

The story starts slowly, but builds gradually—two stories actually. The modern day narrative sends English speaker, Sime Mackenzie, whose Scottish/Gaelic family refused to leave Quebec when it went all French, to investigate a murder on Entry Island. The rest of the team are French speakers. He is ill at ease with them, but Thomas Blanc, with whom he works most closely, is friendly. One member of the team is his ex, Marie-Ange, a vitriolic, bitter woman who makes everything harder.

As soon as Sime sees the woman who is accused of murdering her husband, he feels he knows her. In spite of overwhelming opinion against her, he fights to find a shred of evidence that she didn’t kill her husband. Sime is suffering from chronic insomnia, but has waking dreams that put him into the tales from his ancestor’s diaries that were read to him by his grandmother when he was a child. The insomnia gets so bad that it threatens to impair his judgement and to get him ousted from his job as he retreats deeper and deeper into the past, imagining that he actually is his ancestor, and that the accused woman is his ancestor’s long-lost love as this story runs alternating with the other.

This is a tale of two islands, two mysteries, and two places and times. A tale of misfits isolated within their own cultures, and a tale of cultures battling each other, both in the 1800s and today.

Reviewed by Kaye George, author of “Death in the Time of Ice”



By Suzanne Adair

It is January, 1781. Young English Lieutenant Michael Stoddard has arrived in Wilmington, South Carolina, under the command of Major James Craig. The rebels have fled the city in haste. Major Craig, in hot pursuit, leaves young Lieutenant Michael Stoddard behind as his lead criminal investigator, is tasked with discovering the whereabouts of a local woman. Gabriel Garrity, a gunsmith with possible ties to the rebels, reported that his wife, Julia, disappeared three days prior and by assisting, Craig hopes to demonstrate good will by the occupying army toward the residents of Wilmington. Michael is also charged with investigating Vicar Elijah Spivey. This self-styled man of the cloth has set up a church outside town where he ministers mainly to the ladies of Wilmington, especially those young, attractive, and with money, or any combination thereof—a description that certainly fits Julia Garrity.

Stoddard selects army private, Nick Spry, to assist him after discovering Spry’s remarkable talent for observation, and together they begin the parallel investigations. But, are the two cases really separate? It seems that Julia Garrity had caught the attention of the perhaps, not-so-good Vicar. Her husband, too, is not above suspicion in her disappearance. That theirs was a stormy marriage is common knowledge, while local gossip has that both husband and wife had recently taken lovers.

And what of Esmé Delacroix, the comely Caribbean-born widow of a sea captain, who still practices the Old Ways of her island home. Is she a witch, as some would have it? Or perhaps they are reflecting their own prejudices against an independent woman.

This is Ms. Adair’s sixth historical crime novel set in and around Wilmington and the southern colonies during the American Revolution, or as Lt. Stoddard would refer to it, The War of Rebellion. Thanks to her deep knowledge of life in the south in the late eighteenth century, she has, over the course of these stories, brought the era to life and peopled it with a large cast of recurring characters.

Reviewed by Andrew MacRae



By Sallie Bissell


The murder of a young girl in Hartsville, a town with a rich Cherokee history, has haunted its residents for many years. A retired cop, who couldn’t close the case, still obsesses over it and it nearly cost him his sanity and marriage. Now, a key piece of evidence has been unearthed with possible DNA attached, which could close this case once and for all. That has made some folks just a little bit nervous.

Zack, an adult with autism, was once a primary suspect in the case, and over the years, he and his mother, Grace, have been subjected to malicious gossip and are treated with utter disdain by some residents, even the cops, who believe he got away with murder.

Enter Mary Crow, a woman running for D.A. She agrees to help Grace when it looks like Zack will be scrutinized by the authorities. But Mary may be putting her political career in jeopardy if she defends Zack.

This is a solid cold case mystery with the Cherokee lore and beliefs as a backdrop, creating a unique atmosphere and highlighting ever so lightly the prejudice and corruption which could easily send an innocent person to prison.

Grace and Mary are both aware they face opposition from outside forces, but one will do whatever it takes to keep her son safe, and the other will do whatever is necessary to see justice served, making both of them a real inspiration.

It is always satisfying when a cold case is finally put to rest, giving everyone closure and allowing people who were living life in a kind of limbo to move on and start really living again with some peace of mind. I enjoyed the unique quality of the story; the pace was just right, the characters well drawn, and the story was intriguing and interesting. I, for one, am looking forward to adding the other titles in the Mary Crow series to my library.

Reviewed by Julie Whiteley  ■

New Book Reviews as seen in Suspense Magazine part 2

     Posted on Thu ,22/10/2015 by Administrator


By Jamie Schultz

A mysterious and a bit quirky read, this book is a whole lot of interesting.

Karyn Ames can see the future, sometimes so many futuristic things at once that they end up to be jumbled and confused. The only thing that helps her is a drug called, Blind, but it is very pricey. Karen and her friends run a theft business, a not-so-good theft business, but in this story, they get pushed into a job that promises too-good-to-be-true results. They’re hoping that their various talents combined can make it work.

Karyn brings to the table her ability to see the future, while Nail is a self-taught magician. Anna can pick locks and is an all-around sneak, and the rest of the crew are simply odd ducks. Their newest client, Enoch Sobell, is a crime lord who just loves dark magic. The man is a businessman and magician who plays the game perfectly, but even his type can be beaten.

This case will be the huge haul of a lifetime that will give Karyn the money she needs to get some more medication to help her mind, and the rest of the guys would be able to get out of the holes they are most definitely buried in. All they have to do is deal with a regenerating god, a few demons, a religious cult and just plain, ordinary, human stupidity.

Karyn and her friends are used to using the supernatural, but this time what they’re after is something disastrous and very powerful, and this small band of professional thieves may end up over their heads. Most of the settings are in a criminal underworld that is filled with magic, as Karyn and her crew, and even Sobell, find out just how powerful their prey is. A great read that will resonate with the lover of the supernatural/paranormal realm.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion



By Dorothy Howell

This is the seventh installment of Dorothy Howell’s Haley Randolph Mysteries; it’s a whole lot of mystery, warmth, and humor wrapped into one.

Haley Randolph previously won a cruise, but now the cruise has been changed to a swank vacation at an island hotel called Rowan Resort. Haley invites her three best gal pals to accompany her on the trip they call a “no-men-allowed” vacation. Haley has recently broken up with her boyfriend and has become very obsessed with something called the Sea Vixen beach bag. She’s always been clothing obsessed, but now the beach bag has taken over and she’s on a quest to own the latest model.

The four girls start their vacation and make a great many plans, including; working on their tans, watching for celebrity guests, and hunting for the season’s most wonderful beach bag…the polka-dot Sea Vixen. But strange occurrences begin. The Rowan Resort private beaches are not known for catering to the ‘poorer’ classes. Without winning the vacation, even Haley wouldn’t have been able to afford the place. Yet she keeps running into old flames from the past.

Soon a maid at the resort, Jaslyn Gordon, is killed, and Haley is the one who discovers the crime. The posh location is adamant about keeping the death out of the media, and Haley seems to be the only person interested in solving the murder. She’s determined to find out whodunit even if she has to give up some valuable beach time.

This is a calm, enjoyable read and highly recommended for those sitting in snow-covered locales. Sitting in your living room looking out at the snow, Haley and her friends will allow you to head to a warm beach under the sun for a brief respite. This author has had Haley Randolph on bookshelves for a while now, and readers will be pleased to enjoy the next adventure.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Gillian Royes

This is the third book in an incredible series that first began with, “The Goat Woman of Largo Bay,” and continued with, “The Man Who Turned Both Cheeks.” These tales are all about a small Jamaican fishing village, with the featured character being Shadrack (Shad) Myers—a bartender and observer of human nature who just happens to sometimes solve crimes.

This time out, it seems that the only thing that will help Largo Bay, and keep innkeeper, Eric Keller, from the poor house, is constructing a new, bigger Inn on the acreage owned by Meredith MacKenzie. Miss Mac, as she is known, is willing to sell to Eric, and developer, Danny Caines, offers to put up the money. But nothing goes smoothly as the island doesn’t have electricity or running water. They will both have to be supplied, which brings the costs up.

There is a girl, Janet, who is after Danny. She needs a green card and hopes she can get one through her little scheme that she’s concocted. But Sarah Davenport arrives from England; she comes to Largo Bay to paint the native way of life, and happens to catch Danny’s eye. Janet, seeing her hopes slipping away, threatens Sarah. And, of course, Sarah disappears. It is Shad Myers who figures out that Sarah has been kidnapped, and with his skills, Shad must solve the puzzle and find Sarah before it’s too late.

This is a very good story, set in a sleepy island paradise where a lot more goes on than meets the eye. From the green card plot to the British innocent (who may not be) to the investor who wants to redo the whole place, this is one suspense that proves life on an island is not always lazy days in the sunshine. In fact, this series will make sure you get no sleep until all peace has been restored to the small Jamaican world of Largo Bay.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Louis Sachar

In Heath Cliff, Pennsylvania, sits an expensive private school: Woodbridge Academy. Woodbridge is the type of school that attracts two types of students: the gifted, who attend on scholarship, and those with wealthy parents who attend for other reasons. It is here at Woodbridge that we will meet, like, dislike, and ultimately come to understand both. Sachar takes us inside this small community and even smaller school, and opens our minds to the possibility that one person and one seemingly benign event could have catastrophic implications.

We meet three students: Tamaya, Chad, and Marshall, all of whom are trying to keep their positions in the confusing dichotomy of middle school. Through a misunderstanding, they are thrust into a volatile relationship. Marshall, not wanting to lose his popularity by being beat up by Chad chooses to walk home through the woods. Tamaya, who walks home with Marshall, is forced to go with him. Chad finds them both and threatens to beat them up. Trying to protect her friend, Tamaya picks up a handful of fuzzy mud and throws it in Chad’s face. By the time she gets home, a rash has developed on her hand.

The next morning her rash has worsened and Chad has disappeared.

Here lies the genius of Louis Sachar. Through this benign event, he takes us to a whole new level. A level where science trying to better our lives has possibly caused our demise—not only of these three students, but of the entire human race. Through his impeccable storytelling, he shows us that for every advancement, there is a consequence, for every consequence, there is a penalty, and for every penalty, hopefully there is a solution.

By the time you finish reading “Fuzzy Mud,” your skin will tingle, your mind will be opened, and your imagination will be sparked. Sachar has written a must-read novel for children and adults alike that will be talked about for generations to come!

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine ■



By Kimberley Freeman

This is a tale that will stay with the reader for many, many years to come. This deep, intricate mystery about two women in different eras is sheer perfection.

In 1926, a beautiful woman named Violet Armstrong is a waitress at Evergreen Spa Hotel—a luxurious spot that caters to the rich and famous. Violet is offered work at Evergreen when it’s brand new. She jumps at the chance to help her mother out, having no idea that living at the resort will change her life, and the lives of everyone she meets that season, with tragic results.

In 2014, Lauren Beck is a woman who has broken away from her family and moved to the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, Australia, to try and become a little more independent. Holding down a job, much to her surprise, she attracts the attention of Tomas, an architect from Denmark who is heading up a project at the nearby resort hotel: Evergreen Spa. As the Spa is being renovated, Tomas and Lauren are exploring parts of the building and come upon a small collection of old love letters from someone with the initials SHB to his lady love. Lauren decides to investigate the people to see if she can find out who they were. What happens is beyond her imagination when she stumbles across a long-forgotten secret.

In both eras that this novel presents, differences are explored, bigotry, and assumptions about others based on ignorance run rampant, and the setting—the Blue Mountains of Australia—is so gorgeously written that readers will feel like they are in the midst of it all.

The connections are so strong between these women that readers will be up all night to finish the story. Bouts of crying and laughing may interrupt your day, as you get caught up in the emotions. It is hard for a person to fall in love with a mystery, but Kimberley Freeman has written one that allows every reader to do just that.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Andrew Mayne

This is the second mystery-thriller featuring Jessica Blackwood, born into a household of magicians, but an FBI agent by way of rebellion against a family who expects her to take up the trade.

There’s magic involved, the kind from magicians, and a bit bordering on the supernatural in the form of the mysterious Damien. He’s a character who always knows where Jessica is and what she’s doing. She isn’t always sure if he bears her ill will or not, but he swoops in and saves her life when needed.

When an Appalachian church seems to spontaneously combust after the worshippers are attacked by the sheriff, who seems to have turned into a demon and tried to eat them, Jessica figures there are magic tricks involved. Although she’s not officially allowed to work on the case due to a jealous fellow agent, she manages to worm her way in with the help of some FBI friends and higher-ups.

The secrets behind this initial puzzling and horrific event take Jessica to a gang-infested town in Mexico, an orphanage there, and a strange cave. The events are more complicated and more bizarre than Jessica has first imagined and she ends up having a deadly gang on her trail, trying very hard to kill her. More impossible things happen, but Jessica sees through the subterfuges in the end.

I liked the behind-the-scenes magic tricks that were revealed by Mayne, a talented practicing magician for many years. The way they are woven into the plot is ingenious.

Warning: If you are a devout Catholic, this book may not be for you. A very high figure in the church is not portrayed kindly. But it is fiction.

Reviewed by Kaye George, author of “Eine Kleine Murder”



By Linda Castillo

This book starts out with a prologue that will send readers running…to read the rest of the novel as fast as possible.

There don’t seem to be any problems with either Police Chief Kate Burkholder or the town of Painters Mill, Ohio. All is quiet, and yet, this author has the writing ability to keep readers glued to the pages, as Kate and her team embark on the trail of a criminal who may certainly be long-gone after discovering a thirty-year-old attack in a falling down barn located in an Amish community.

Kate has a good life with John Tomasetti, an agent for the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, that is horribly interrupted when the area is struck by a giant tornado. Kate rescues a child and mother from a smashed trailer and is subsequently sued for causing the child’s death, and threatened by the child’s meth-brained father. Another storm surprise, however, are the parts of a corpse found in the old barn by a troop of Boy Scouts who were helping to clean up in the aftermath of the tornado. The body parts are identified as Mennonite Leroy Nolt who vanished three decades ago.

Although Kate was born Amish, she now lives “among the English.” Fortunately, when talking with the Amish people, she can speak to them in any language they choose and in time finds out that the thirty-year-old incident was not an accident. Soon, Kate learns that somewhere among these gentle people there is a killer or killers waiting to strike. Kate is fired at by a stalker and a chain of violence begins that doesn’t let up. Personal family secrets and unlikely deaths begin to turn this Amish community both upside down and sideways. Kate will have to search for answers while dealing with a close-knit community who have closed their doors to everyone.

An excellent story by Linda Castillo, fans will be swept away by the tornado and captivated by the Amish world.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Leslie Meier

Tinker’s Cove, Maine, is about to be shaken up by a pumpkin-hurling contest. What is that, you ask? Well…

Lucy Stone, local reporter, is covering the town’s annual Giant Pumpkin Fest for the Pennysaver. The Fest includes the pumpkin boat regatta, the children’s Halloween party, the pumpkin weigh-in and, for the first time, a contest using a home-built catapult to throw pumpkins at a target: an old Dodge. This should certainly bring in the crowds.

Lucy’s husband Bill is, at the moment, lavishing his affection on Priscilla. Priscilla is a 500-pound pumpkin he hopes to enter in the contest. Evan Wickes, a local man, is helping Bill build a catapult designed to hold one so enormous. But when the day of the contest arrives, no one can find Evan, until…a pumpkin flies by and breaks open the trunk of the old Dodge. The surprise is scary enough, but when they find the dead body of Evan inside the massive pumpkin that has been catapulted by those unknown, scary turns to shock.

As Bill was the last one to see and speak to Evan, he becomes the main suspect. Lucy knows she has to start her own investigation into the pumpkin fiasco, but all her ideas and leads don’t work for her. She finds that there is another story from long past regarding the town that she will have to investigate in order to solve Evan’s murder.

This book is definitely a cozy. No gore, just a fun read/mystery that offers up a family secret that someone in the family doesn’t want revealed. Readers will love Lucy for all the work she does for her family and hometown. A great character, readers will liken her to their very best friend.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Lynne Raimondo

This extremely good read offers fans another look at Dr. Mark Angelotti, a psychologist who is nearly blind and is now looking forward, for lack of a better phrase, to a new apartment, a new boss, a new office, and hitting a brand new case.

His newly elected boss, the state’s attorney, asks him to review a previous evaluation written by Bradley Stephens, another psychologist who was killed in an accident before he could testify in court. Mark is able to listen, due to modern technology, while he forms his own opinion about what seems to be a very difficult case.

Rachel Lazarus, the defendant, has confessed to killing her husband in a very brutal manner. Her justification seems to be that she suffered years of her husband’s abuse and Battered Woman Syndrome is the best reason in the world to let her go. Mark senses that there is something deeper in Stephens’s evaluation that doesn’t quite add up. Lo and behold, the defense attorney turns out to be Mark’s old girlfriend and the prosecutor treats Mark as a hostile witness because Mark believes that the whole thing, the whole trial, is a set up. However, when another case becomes connected, it soon turns out that Rachel may not be guilty after all. Perhaps there is a person who wants Rachel to take the fall; yet, if he’s not careful, everything may just topple directly down on Mark’s own head.

This book is a must read as it will keep you on your toes during the entire narrative. The author wrote two previous Mark Angelotti books: “Dante’s Wood” and “Dante’s Poison.” Her writing is first class and readers will love having to guess the finale right up until the reveal on the very last page.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Rhys Bowen

It looks like more hard times are coming for Lady Georgianna Rannoch in the ninth Royal Spyness Mystery penned by Rhys Bowen, “Malice at the Palace.” Just because Georgie happens to be thirty-fifth in line for the British throne, doesn’t guarantee she has a place to live or any money in her purse. But being close to the royal family does have its advantages, especially when Queen Mary asks Georgie to be the official companion to Princess Marina of Greece. The princess is arriving in London to wed the youngest royal prince, George, who is known for his many love affairs with people of both sexes, including famed songwriter Noel Coward.

Georgie, and her completely hopeless maid, Queenie, move into Kensington Palace, affectionately known as the “Aunt Heap,” as several elderly members of the royal family live there. Also reputed to be in residence at the palace are other family members of the ghostly variety, including a mysterious woman in white and a young boy.

When Georgie, keen to meet a ghost of one of her ancestors, investigates a mysterious light in the palace, she discovers an all-too-real dead body instead. As if that isn’t bad enough, the dead woman is a well-known society beauty and reputed drug supplier who is said to be one of Prince George’s many mistresses.

Queen Mary is horrified by the supposed connection to her son and wants the entire matter resolved as quickly and quietly as possible, before word reaches Princess Marina and she calls off the wedding. Georgie has helped the queen resolve other wrongdoings in the past, but none that has reached into the sanctity of the royal family itself.

“Malice at the Palace” is delightful from start to finish. And what makes it even more intriguing is that Bowen’s tale is mostly based on historical facts. Truth really is stranger than fiction!

Reviewed by Susan Santangelo, author of “Funerals Can Be Murder,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine

New Book Reviews as seen in Suspense Magazine August part 1

     Posted on Thu ,22/10/2015 by Administrator


By Paul Levine

This is a terrific new Jake Lassiter mystery—the ex-NFL linebacker turned lawyer.

At one time, Jake was on the opposite side of the courtroom, standing trial for a murder he did not commit. So he certainly has an in-depth view of the justice system. Now, being a lawyer, Jake has had it with clients that are actually very guilty and the shifty lawyers that somehow get them off. He is so annoyed that he’s just about ready to throw in the towel and run away from it all; leave Miami behind and move on to greener pastures.

But, as fate would have it, Jake is not free to leave. He receives a call from Victoria Lord, partner in the legal team of Solomon & Lord. It seems her partner, Steve Solomon, has been arrested for murder, and the only person who can clear him is nowhere to be found. Steve’s alibi is a bar girl (AKA: Lady of the Evening), that Jake and Victoria have to find before the FBI catches up with her or she’s killed by the Russian Mob. Jake is very sure that if he doesn’t find her first, Steve’s case will be lost. Remembering his days on the gridiron and the good advice he got from his college football coach: “Buckle your chin strap and hit somebody,” Jake decides that is exactly what he intends to do.

Solomon is not the most fun of clients, and Jake is the only one who seems to be able to tell the man to shut up and actually get away with it. With the prosecution getting in the way, the FBI lurking around every corner, and the Russian Mob bringing up the rear, this tale is about as action-packed as you can get. Covering the rainbow of emotions from funny to fear, author Paul Levine has definitely done it again with this extremely likable character.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Robin Kirman

Three main characters, Charlie, Georgia and Alice, offer up three very different personalities in this extremely interesting tale. Enrolled in Harvard University, they each have a different background and a very different reason for being at the prestigious school.

During their time at Harvard, each of these students meets up with Rufus Storrow, a professor who has a relationship of sorts with each one of them. Rufus is a somewhat odd individual whose personality can go from sticky sweet to rage in an instant. He is surely the perfect example of a sociopathic case. But is he?

During their college times the three students also knew a victim, a senior girl who was brutally murdered. Each of them were spoken to by the authorities concerning the crime, but the main suspect turned out to be Professor Storrow. After graduation, the three students go their separate ways but are unable to forget the murdered girl and how they saw the teacher that they all liked lose his job and have his reputation completely wiped away. Over the next ten years, their lives are unveiled as this odd trio from Harvard wrestle with their own choices in life.

The author does a great job telling of the murder and the effect it had on Georgia, Charlie and Alice. Readers will have a tough time putting this book aside for even a minute as the story has everything that the mystery lover looks forward to. There is most definitely a crime to solve, and by telling the tale from the viewpoint of the students who had to go on and live with the end results of the crime, and the privileged world of Harvard where friendships come and go, keeps the reader riveted.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Lea Wait

Angie Curtis has returned to Haven Harbor, on the picturesque seacoast of Maine, to take over running the family business, Mainely Needlepoint, which does commissioned needlework for decorators and other high-end clients. Angie’s happy to give up her old job as an assistant to a private investigator in Arizona for a quiet life in Haven Harbor.

Like many New England towns, Haven Harbor has its share of beautiful antique houses. One such house, which has fallen into disrepair and is reputed to be haunted, is Aurora, a crumbling Victorian mansion which has been sitting vacant for more than twenty-five years. Aurora was once the summer home of the wealthy Gardener family, and was the scene of the mysterious death of Jasmine Gardener when she was only seventeen.

Hollywood actress, Skye West, decides to buy Aurora and restore it to its former glory, setting the whole town abuzz with speculation. Skye approaches Mainely Needlepoint and asks Angie to appraise the estate’s collection of needlepoint pictures, each one done after Jasmine’s death by her grieving mother, who always maintained that her daughter was murdered. The more Angie examines the needlepoint, the more convinced she becomes that each one contains a clue to solving the crime.

“Threads of Evidence” is the second in Maine author Lea Wait’s Mainely Needlepoint Mystery series. Like all of Wait’s previous mysteries (she also writes the Antique Print Mystery series), it offers a wonderful sense of place and characters right from the very beginning. Highly recommended!

Reviewed by Susan Santangelo, author of “Funerals Can Be Murder,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine



By John Rector

Wrong place, wrong time or right place, right time? That’s the big question that haunts Nick White in “Ruthless.” While sitting in a lonely bar, a beautiful woman takes a seat next to him and asks, “Are you him?” Thinking he’s part of a flirty pick up, he plays along, answering, “Are you her?” Before the mysterious beauty departs, she leaves an envelope and tells him that he will get the other half when the job is completed. If Nick was smart, he would have told her she had the wrong person, given the envelope back and walked out of the bar and her life forever—but Nick has never been admired for his decision making skills.

Inside the envelope, he finds a lot of money and a girl’s name and address. What transpires next will change his life in ways he could never imagine. Deciding against the desires and advice of his father, a retired police officer, Nick doesn’t let it go. For once in his life, he is going to do the right thing.

The right thing becomes much more complicated than he imagines. Every time he thinks he knows who the bad guys are, he gains information that has his mind doing flips and his imagination spinning in every direction.

John Rector has written a riveting thriller that will keep you guessing until the last page and changing your mind on who the bad guys are. Maybe there is no such thing as innocent people. Maybe everyone is ruthless!

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine ■



By Robert Ellis

Detective Matthew Trevor Jones is just beginning a new job, receiving a pretty good promotion that has placed him in Hollywood Homicide. Matt is celebrating and waiting for a friend to show up so they can paint the town when he receives a call from his Lieutenant offering apologies, telling Matt that there is a new homicide call and everyone else on the job is busy, so he must cancel dinner and get to work. Matt, of course, says he will, sending a text to his friend saying the evening is off.

Matt heads for the scene and the first one there lets Matt know that the killing is a real mess, the victim unrecognizable. The car the victim is found in checks out as being a loaner from a dealership. Inside, the victim’s phone is ringing, and when Matt picks it up to see if he can identify the body that way, his very own text flashes back at him: The victim with no face is Matt’s friend—another policeman by the name of Kevin Hughes.

Matt’s new partner, Denny Cabrera, is not sure that Matt should even be on the case but the Lieutenant disagrees. Soon a person is arrested for the crime: a teacher having an affair with one of his students who just happened to be killed. But creepiness commences as the arresting officers begin to die off one by one. A murderer is continuing what looks to be a very personal killing spree, showing the cops that an arrested man may just be completely innocent of the crime.

Extremely intelligent, highly thrilling and, at times, graphic. This is an incredible story written well by a writer who knows just how to keep the reader in the loop, even at the most confusing times, while delivering a remarkable story.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Anna Loan-Wilsey

For lovers of mystery with a historical flare, this is a true treat. Her fans already know that author Anna Loan-Wilsey is a terrific wordsmith, and her featured character, Hattie Davish, is one that many people have already fallen in love with.

Hattie is a traveling secretary who works for a gentleman named Sir Arthur. But this time around, Hattie is traveling back to her hometown of St. Joseph, Missouri. Her friend, Virginia Hayward, has just lost her father and Hattie wants to help.

Hattie is also someone who very seldom misses anything, and while at the funeral home, she sees the plant ‘Agrimony’ tucked into the middle of a wreath. Hattie immediately wonders why the plant is there, seeing as it stands for gratitude. When she gets up to the body, she realizes something else; the dead man is not her friend’s father. Yes, the man has been in a bad accident and his face is disfigured, but Hattie knows the scar she sees is not the same. A switch has been made, and soon Hattie senses more than foul play, she senses that her hometown is not nearly the same one she left.

Knowing the body is not her friend’s father, Hattie wants to find out what on earth is going on. Her search leads her from her old school to the cemetery in town, and on to the home of the notorious outlaw, Jesse James. More doors open and Hattie finds herself following clues that lead her to tunnels buried under a lunatic asylum. And with each turn she takes, Hattie will get closer and closer to a true killer.

Although a standalone read, all of the Hattie Davish mysteries are fantastic. The writing and characterizations are true to the time period, and once you pick up one Davish mystery, you’ll be running to the library to get another.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Mark Walden

Having thoroughly enjoyed Mark Walden’s first in the Earthfall series, it was a long two year wait for the follow up. I shouldn’t have enjoyed this series—it’s aimed at middle school boys—but a good book is a good book.

So when “Retribution” (Earthfall 2) arrived, I was chomping at the bit to discover if our young heroes would manage to free the Londoners from their trance-like entrapment which occurred in the first book after the alien Voidborns arrived on Earth.

This book takes place several months since the events of “Earthfall,” and Sam and his crew have discovered things are worse than they first believed. Not only have the Voidborn set up some kind of drilling apparatus, but they haven’t just invaded London; they have landed all around the world and are in the throes of setting up more of the device.

Sam’s group happens upon another resistance group who think they have discovered a way to destroy the enemy by implanting viral commands into the network that controls the Voidborn drones. Along the way Sam makes unlikely allies and enemies, and a new and very dangerous creature is unleashed upon the planet.

Walden has taken the classic “War of the Worlds” tale and developed it further, with new twists and a great reveal. Readers of young adult adventure and apocalyptic tales will enjoy this series. And if you have a reluctant young male reader, this series would be a great introduction to the adventure that can lie between the covers of a book.

Reviewed by Susan May



By Anna Lee Huber

For readers who first fell in love with Lady Kiera Darby in “The Anatomist’s Wife” and “Mortal Arts,” this is book three. And the author has once again delivered an awesome mystery.

For those not up to date, Lady Darby has been through many things in her life; from losing her husband to being frowned upon by London Society because it was believed that her deceased love was an anatomist who used her artistic talents to suit his own purposes. The Lady has continued to be judged in the eyes of others. Intrigue and murder mysteries ensued, as well as a romance with the enticing, Sebastian Gage, who quickly became the apple of readers’ eyes.

It is the year 1830, and Lady Kiera Darby and her brother are enjoying the Hogmanay Ball on New Year’s Eve when, just moments after midnight, a worker comes in and claims that the caretaker has been shot in an old abbey. The worker is correct. Not only is the man dead, there has also been a grave robbery of bones. Oddly enough, days later a ransom note is sent to the family so they can retrieve the bones…at a cost.

Kiera, with the help of Sebastian Gage, finds that this is not the first case of someone digging up old bones and ransoming them back to their families. But discovering who would choose which graves to rob and why the families targeted would be so frightened, will take a great deal of detection. As Kiera and Gage team up to look for clues and hunt down the baddies in this new caper, readers will hang on every word.

This is a team that is indeed well-matched, and their romance plays easily with the ever-expanding world of Scottish intrigue. Although each book is a stand-alone read, the Lady is best understood if you are aware of the incredible backstory that this author provided for her character; a character who is truly unforgettable.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion ■



By Barry Lyga with Peter Facinelli and Robert DeFranco

Can you imagine a world that is in total ruin: no clean water, no natural food, no trees, birds, or flowers? Worse yet, there is no history. The citizens believe this is the way it has always been. Ever since the Red Rain: a time so long ago, that no one knows when it happened, or why it was called the red rain. Well, Barry Lyga, Peter Facinelli, and Robert DeFranco have imagined such a world and have painted it in every color along the gray spectrum. They have etched a world of gloom in such a fashion that you will be riveted to the page.

Now imagine that there is one person in this world that’s different . . . colorful, imaginative, and full of life. Can you imagine the trouble that one individual could cause?

Deedra is a teenage girl who lives in this world. An orphan who spends her days working in a factory and her nights scavenging for anything salvageable. During one of her excursions, she meets a boy named Rose. Rose is different from any other. He looks different, smells different, and acts different.

She soon learns that he is different in many other ways, especially in the way he thinks. Maybe he is different in ways that can change the world. “After the Red Rain” is a microcosm of society. What happens when those in charge are threatened by something new and different? They become afraid, and their fear makes them go on the offensive. An offensive that could destroy all that is possible and all that once was, with only one person who can stop them . . . a boy named Rose.

Lyga, Facinelli, and DeFranco have delivered a post-apocalyptic, dystopian young adult novel that begs to be read.

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine ■



By David Rosenfelt

This is the twelfth Andy Carpenter Mystery, and with each one David Rosenfelt writes, the more readers want to hear that Andy Carpenter will go on for at least twenty or thirty more novels. Each and every one of the Andy Carpenter books is a delight to read and this new one is no exception.

Andy’s friend, Police Captain Pete Stanton, finds himself arrested for the murder of a man named Danny Riaz. Danny just happened to have been an ex-convict and police informant, and Pete has the bad luck of being the first police presence at the scene of the crime. That, and more, ends up making Pete Suspect #1.

It seems that Danny had reported Pete for drug dealing, and as the case is checked up on, investigators find $100,000 worth of heroin in Pete’s house. Pete is sure that several recent deaths are contract murders, and Andy agrees. Andy is sure that Pete is being framed for Danny’s death and will not stop until he proves it.

In the meantime, however, Andy’s partner, Laurie Collins, asks him to foster an eight-year-old boy, Ricky Diaz, who is the murder victim’s son. And along with Ricky comes his dog, Sebastian—a Basset Hound. (One that graces the fabulous cover of this book).

Moving through this interesting adventure, the ‘Carpenter’ charm is at full-force. Humorous, as always, the conspiracy in this one intermingles with plot lines that keep the story fast-paced and a whole lot of fun. Both new and longtime fans will love everything from the New Jersey gangsters to the courtroom action to the author’s ever-present love of canines. (Rosenfelt rescues dogs and owns at least twenty-five Golden Retrievers, himself). All of it combines to make a perfect mystery. …Yet again.

Reviewed by Amy Lignor, author of “The Charlatan’s Crown,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine ■

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     Posted on Thu ,20/08/2015 by Administrator


By Steffen Jacobsen

If there was ever a ‘model’ for an edge-of-your-seat thriller, this is it. Author Steffen Jacobsen is a Danish surgeon, and this is the first of his three novels to be translated into English.

To begin, City of Naples Assistant Public Prosecutor Sabrina D’Avalos, is a strong woman, who years before resolved to avenge the death of her father who she believes was murdered by the criminal Mafia/Camorra.

At the Port of Naples, a crane drops a container that’s about to be placed onto a ship. The crane operator is so scared of the consequences of the accident that he jumps to his death, landing on top of the container. When the container breaks open, the dockworkers see the bags of human remains concealed inside…an accident that takes place in front of Camorra assassin, Urs Savelli.

As fate would have it, the prosecutor assigned to the case is Sabrina D’Avalos. Her job will be to identify the corpses from the letters F to L. She reports to her boss that she’s linked two of the victims—a pregnant woman, Lucia Forlani, and her son, Salvatore—to a rash of violence back in 2007 that took the life of her father, Gen. Baron Agostino D’Avalos. He had put the mother and son into witness protection. Lucia’s husband, Giulio, was murdered the same week that she disappeared, along with all the top scientists working with him at Nanometric, a techno company that could prevent forgeries from being thought of as real.

As the Mafia/Camorra’s income mostly comes from designer knockoffs and fakes, the murders are believed to have been done by Savelli, the Camorra’s number one hit man, and a woman called L’Artista, who is also a hitter. Sabrina is gung ho as she is sure that her father’s death was orchestrated by these two people, and she will not rest until she proves it.

A psychological, suspenseful thrill-ride that will appeal to anyone who is interested in fast-paced action.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Joe R. Lansdale

This book opens with bank robbery and murder, as Jack Parker, sixteen years old, his sister, Lula, fourteen years old, and their grandfather, are attacked on a Sabine River Ferryboat. Grandfather is murdered and Jack is swept overboard as the robbers ride off with Lula.

Jack’s thoughts are focused on rescuing his sister, and while searching for a sheriff to help him, Jack meets Eustace, a gravedigger and tracker who is the owner of a pet 600-pound hog. Hog is around so he can act like a very large watchdog as Eustace leads Jack to Shorty, a bounty hunter, and the quartet set off to track the robbers and save Jack’s sister. It seems that the criminals have taken Lula into ‘The Big Thicket,’ a wild stretch of forest that is home to outlaws. And as Eustace says, it is a place where “if you ain’t scared, it’s because you’re too stupid.”

Along the trail, the gang of four collect more folks to help them on their quest. Winton, a bounty hunter turned Sheriff; Spot, a janitor; and Jimmie Sue, a hooker with a heart of gold who will keep readers intrigued. This is definitely a true walk through early twentieth-century East Texas, because by the time the little band reaches the Big Thicket a lot of it has been reduced from those scary deep, dark woods to miles of cleared, desolate land. Will it help them find Lula? You’ll have to wait and see.

Violent in parts, this is an area full of familiar heroes and antiheroes that are highly entertaining. As for being civilized, during this time in history East Texas was still a wild ride. So for those who love suspense, mysteries, westerns, and those fans out there who were thrilled by the Coen Brothers’ flick No Country for Old Men, this is most definitely the read for you!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion   ■



By Nancy Atherton

Another hit in the long line of Aunt Dimity books. Plenty of mystery in this cozy, but no murders.

Lori Shepherd and her husband Bill are Americans, but they’ve settled into the small English village of Finch so comfortably that they truly care about the town and its future. Bill’s father, William Willis Sr., has even moved up the lane from them, and lives at the rather grand Fairworth House. Amelia Thistle, accomplished watercolorist, has agreed to marry Willis, Sr. This would be a joyous occasion, except that Bill’s Boston aunts, better known as The Harpies, are coming to the wedding. If you have relatives you dislike, I dare you to put them up against Honoria and Charlotte—very nasty women. Lori lives in dread of their arrival.

With Amelia moving out of her cottage, Lori is worried about the future of Finch. It will now have four empty cottages. Many people are looking, but no one is moving in. Lori sets out to determine why. But first, Lori’s friend, Emma, has been mapping the village and its surrounds, so Lori decides to take her baby, Bess, on a walk along a path Emma has discovered. Distracted by the sight of kites flying above the neighbor’s wall, she steers the pram into a pothole. She’s startled to see an odd man perched on the wall. His clothes are casual and rumpled, but he wears a crown of dried grapevines and buttercups on his gray hair. He’s the Summer King, he tells her.

Aunt Dimity, if you haven’t met her, is an unusual ghost. She communicates with Lori by writing in a special book. She lives in the house with Lori, Bill, the twin boys, Will and Rob, and baby Bess. Mysteries abound, piled on top of each other and interwoven as Lori seeks help from her to figure out what’s happening to the village and who is responsible. And also seeks help getting through the nuptials with The Harpies.

Reviewed by Kaye George, author of “Eine Kleine Murder”   ■



By Allan Topol

This book is a classic tale of scandal in the nation’s capital. It’s all about the fast track, and all the right plots figure into the story.

A public figure is enjoying a small vacation with his young model mistress on the island of Anguilla, when said mistress makes sure to give her boy a lesson. Either marry me, or face up to the consequences that scandal will bring. Lose your career and everything along with it, because she’s ready and willing to go to the newspapers with a CD that she recorded of his meeting with a Chinese agent. But, as luck or lust would have it, the mistress in this case, Vanessa Boyd, has a mysterious accident, drowning in the ocean before she has a chance to do anything.

Andrew Martin, a prominent Washington attorney, just happens to own the house on Anguilla. Mr. Martin is on the short list to earn a seat on the Supreme Court, so he certainly doesn’t want anyone to know that he lent his property to someone who may or may not have had a hand in murder. Martin calls the island and gets some of his cohorts to turn the death of Vanessa into an accidental death,  while he backpedals to make sure the President doesn’t hear about the problem before he picks the next Supreme Court Judge.

Meanwhile, Vanessa’s twin sister, archeologist Allison Boyd, is on the hunt for clues that will prove Vanessa was murdered. She knows that her sister was a good swimmer and wasn’t likely to drown. Although usually digging up mummies, Allison is pure detective and will never give up until the high-powered folks get the punishment they deserve, and crumble accordingly.

This is a real page-turner that comes together at the end perfectly. What people want versus what they deserve is the statement behind this political thriller, and all readers will be more than satisfied.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Bill Pronzini

This author has, for many years, written about the very cool Nameless Detective, whose first name just happens to be Bill. These books have been favorites of many and just keep getting better and better.

In this new tale, Bill leaves California and drives to Mineral Springs, Nevada, to help out an old flame, Cheryl Rosmond. Cheryl’s son, Cody, has been arrested for three assaults made on women in the small town. And the evidence against Cody has been given to police by Max Stendreyer, who just happens to be the local drug salesman that has identified Cody as the person who was running from the scene of the third woman’s assault.

Cheryl is sure her son is innocent and asks Bill to help find out who the real culprit is so she can save her family. Cody’s girlfriend, Alana, also thinks he’s innocent, but no one else in town is on their side, especially not County Sheriff Joe Felix, who is so sure of Cody’s guilt that he’s not even looking for anyone else to take the blame. He also stands in the way of Bill, not allowing him to even speak to the prisoner. The three victims are also adamant about Cody’s guilt, and Alana’s ex-boyfriend backs them up, although he has a definite reason for wanting Cody to stay locked up.

Bill digs around for clues and finally makes enough progress that a bullet is sent his way by an unknown shooter. He has made enemies in town, including the local District Attorney. What’s worse is the fact that Bill may just have uncovered a different crime that Cody is linked to, which makes him think that he made the wrong decision by coming to Mineral Springs in the first place.

You cannot get enough of this character. A really good story which, of course, offers the biggest surprise on the final pages. Here’s hoping that Mr. Pronzini is already hard at work on the next Nameless mystery.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Laura Lebow

Lorenzo Da Ponte is a librettist (a musical theater poet) in 1700’s Vienna. Well liked, he is not well paid, scraping by on commissions as he strives to be a collaborator with Mozart on The Marriage of Figaro.

Lorenzo is asked by his barber, Johann Vogel, to investigate the Baron Gabler—Vogel’s former employer. He needs to find out anything he can about his own birth mother. Vogel is sure that she was a noblewoman and that family connections will help the barber pay off his outstanding debts to Gabler’s housekeeper. That way, the man can be let out of prison to marry Baroness Gabler’s maid.

During the investigation, the Baron’s page is killed. Said page, Florian, is the only son of a prince and being set up for a very important job with the Baron when he meets his death. A very deep, dark mystery ensues, as Emperor Joseph soon calls on Da Ponte to pose as Baroness Gabler’s poetry teacher in order to uncover the killer. The Emperor promises Lorenzo that he will be tried for Florian’s murder if he does not comply.

During this time, Da Ponte is trying to finish the work he’s doing on the Figaro opera, while trying to link a strange medallion to the mystery of Vogel’s birth mother and make sense of a notebook he’s found. Secrets begin to be uncovered that include Da Ponte’s own, as he finds that looking for a killer is bringing him closer to ultimate disaster.

This book is not your usual mystery. Complicated, yes, but a thrilling tale that for a true mystery buff makes for a very interesting afternoon of reading. Whether an opera fan or not, doesn’t matter. The style is different, the plot intriguing, and the main character is perfect since he is a very reluctant detective. The author has definitely done her research about eighteenth century Vienna, and Vienna’s love for the opera comes across in the passion of this writer’s words.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion   ■



By P.L. Gaus

Gaus puts forward another in his acclaimed Amish-Country mysteries. In this story, the author continues the tale of Fannie Helmuth that started in the previous book, “The Names of Our Tears.”

Fannie and her friend, Ruth Zook, became drug mules (carrying drugs for criminals). They tried to right the wrongs that they knew they had committed but Ruth, unfortunately, was killed.

Fannie is on her own now and also on the run, hiding from the drug ring that took away her precious friend. An old pal, Howie Dent, has come to her. He aids Fannie by hiding with her among the various communities of Amish people. Yet another tragedy happens when Howie loses his life, as well. The law in this particular Amish community in Holmes County, Ohio, Sheriff Bruce Robertson, has been searching for Fannie so he can put her in protective custody. He needs her to testify against the drug ring she’s running from in order to get these people off the streets before they do even more harm.

He believes that Ruth’s murder was committed by Teresa Molina, and that Fannie is surely on the run from the Molina Drug Ring. When Howie’s body is found, the sheriff knows that it’s only a matter of time before the gang goes after Fannie and finally brings her down. Tracking Fannie through some letters sent by Amish scribes to the local paper, the sheriff sends a couple of local citizens to get Fannie and bring her back. But as Fannie wonders if she can stay alive long enough to make things right, the sheriff receives an answer to it all in a dream that he has had since childhood…bringing a ‘lion’ into the mix to find a way to fight and win against some truly bad guys.

After reading this, fans will look at the world of ‘horses and buggies’ in a brand new light. The book is a true mystery that does not give up its secrets easily.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Ausma Zehanat Khan

This is the first novel by a new author on the scene, with Khan introducing readers to Canada’s Community Policing Section.

This section of law enforcement handles Canada’s minority/sensitive crimes. One such crime they are looking at was first considered to be nothing more than an accident; a man fell off a cliff. It becomes a sensitive crime when a war-crimes historian suspects that the victim, Christopher Drayton, was really a wanted war crimes culprit who was behind the Srebrenica massacre of 1995—an event said to be Europe’s largest atrocity since WWII.

Introducing Inspector Esa Khattak, who is soft-spoken, respectful, and one of those “good men” on the job. He is the boss of Sgt. Rachel Getty, a young woman who is nothing like her higher-up partner, except when it comes to her stringent work ethic. Ten years younger, she is a very capable officer. And as the tale expands, this is one set of detectives that will find out they do have more in common than they first thought.

The clues concerning the possible murder come out slowly, as the two detectives have to determine whether Drayton is really war crimes felon, Krstic. If, in fact, he is the criminal, there will be many witnesses to the massacre and many suspects. A slew of survivors apparently have made homes in Canada and live close to where Drayton met his fate. As the partners uncover information proving more and more that the victim is actually the hated man, including a type of gun known only to be used by the Bosnian Serb army, anger and doubt heat up.

Khattak and Getty’s investigation is solid. The book is written with a great deal of humanity, trust and self-expression, which allows readers to see it as a definite series in the works with more tales to come. Highly emotional, in this debut the author has told it like it is, or was, and makes no bones about it.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion   ■



By Sarah Graves

Lizzie Snow is a police officer from Boston who has just accepted a job in Bearkill, Maine. There is a method to her madness, for there is far more in Bearkill than just a job; she’s hoping to find her niece who’s been missing for many years, and Lizzie has just received an anonymous tip that the child is in or near Bearkill.

She still has misgivings about moving but the possibility that her niece, Nicki, could be found is enough for her to accept the position with the Aroostook County Sheriff’s Department. The town of Bearkill is barely a town, however, made up of a small market, laundromat, luncheonette, and corner bar called, Area 51. When she enters this “grim little town miles from nowhere,” she immediately begins her hunt for clues that may take her right up and/or over the Canadian border.

Lizzie finds herself surrounded by some mysterious crimes and a killer who seems to be sneaking around very close by, but able to remain just out of reach. Her new boss, Sheriff Cody Chevrier, is counting on her fresh new eyes to separate accidents from true murders when local ex-cops are suddenly being found dead as doornails. These are truly ‘freak’ accidents, if that’s what they are at all, and this is one backwoods locale that houses the truly desperate, the morally corrupt, and one person who is set to destroy anything the innocent have to offer…if Lizzie doesn’t find the culprit first.

When you speak about a new ‘cop series’ you want to speak very well. With this title, that’s not hard to do. Lizzie Snow is interesting, and might be remembered from Graves’s last book where she was first introduced to readers. And let’s face it, the ‘Master of Horror’ uses Maine for one reason and one reason only…and this incredible writer agrees: this icy town is part of the perfect world where creepfests are truly cool.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By G.M. Ford

This is an extremely interesting story featuring Detective Sgt. Mickey Dolan. Let’s just say that Mickey is not a person who is in the best of moods most of the time, which is quite sad because his time may just be running out faster than he assumed it would.

Mickey is assigned to the case of a powerful councilman who has reported that his wife and daughters have disappeared, and the detective knows that this one case could be his swan song if he makes even one mistake.

While on the case, Mickey meets Eve Pressman and her daughter, Grace. Grace seems to have the impossible ability to bring patients out of comas. In addition, this mother-daughter team might actually know where the councilman’s family is and why they were taken in the first place. Many mysteries ensue. First of all, how does Grace wake people up from a coma? Is this a supernatural gift of some sort, or is there a scheme being played? And can Mickey find the missing family, or is there something a little bit fishy about the powerful councilman that makes him a suspect instead of a heartbroken husband and father?

Readers will have to keep on reading in order to deduce everything that the author has set up in this plot. Although many questions need to be answered, not all were. The characters were outstanding, with their own interesting and distinct personalities. And the pace of the novel was fast, which means extra care needs to go into not missing a word.

Finally, as the reader approaches the end, the feeling becomes that something, perhaps a small piece for the future, will be left in limbo. A good tale that will definitely leave everyone thinking of the early stories written by Chandler and Christie, as one and all await the next G.M. Ford creation.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■


Book Reviews as seen in Suspense Magazine (New)

     Posted on Thu ,20/08/2015 by Administrator


By Jeffrey Archer

This is Volume #5 in this author’s Clifton Chronicles series, and is just as fabulous as the four before. Although first intended to be the grand finale of the series, this is not the blockbuster event readers will expect. Why is that? Although this book ties up some loose ends and offers some needed explanations, it’s not going to be the end after all. (YAY!)

Beginning where “Be Careful What You Wish For” left off, this story consists of the IRA, the Cold War, and developments of the Communist Party in East Germany and the USSR.

At the beginning of the tale, the Barrington and Clifton families are continuing into the twentieth century featuring a whole new generation. The Barrington Shipping Company is launching a new ocean liner, the MV Buckingham that is on its way to New York, and is about to be blown up by a bomb planted by enemies of the Barrington/Clifton families. A bomb that very nearly works. Set to detonate at three o’clock in the morning when all passengers should be snug in their beds not knowing they will soon be headed for Davy Jones’ Locker, the bomb is suddenly discovered eight minutes before three. Thrown overboard, the disaster that would have killed many people is averted.

With two dramatic courtroom dramas, one in England and one in Russia, main characters that readers have become attached to bring about serious issues that occurred in the twentieth century, while a new character, Sebastian Clifton, son of Harry and Emma Barrington Clifton, comes of age and joins the family businesses.

This book begins with a possible ‘bang’ and ends with a courtroom battle that readers will love so much, they will head back to Volume #1 and read it all over again. The smile will be planted on their faces knowing that there will be a Volume #6 coming soon. Archer, as always, never lets the reader down!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion 



By Maggie Barbieri

Sean Donovan is an upstanding member of the Farringville, New York community who has been brutally killed. Maeve Conlon, his cousin, finds herself pulled into the investigation when the police think that her father, Jack, might just be the killer. And it doesn’t help that lead detective, Rodney Pool, refuses to say why he believes the well-liked ex-cop suffering from severe Alzheimer’s is a murderer.

Maeve is desperately trying to protect her father and makes up an alibi for him. Her troubles go from bad to worse when she finds out that a patron of her bakery, Michael Lorenzo, is beating his wife and child. Maeve wants to help there, too, but soon finds herself buried by crimes and lies.

Maeve has been a victim in her life, but now she’s finally seeing the light and getting back on track after her husband left her for her best friend. Maeve is a graduate of the Culinary Institute and she has finally been successful in running The Comfort Zone, a gourmet shop she owns. Just getting used to being a single parent, Maeve is also, with the help of a friend, getting into the speed-dating fad.

More bad luck strikes when the most promising date of the evening turns out to be Rodney—the police detective that cannot be swayed when it comes to believing that her own father is a definite killer. Worried, and wanting to do anything to save her father, Maeve begins dating the detective to keep an eye on him. With her new choices, she finds her life going to heck once again as the many allegiances she makes weigh heavily on her ever diminishing patience.

The author has created a great plot that holds the attention. Maeve is a wonderful character that readers will root for, warning her throughout the story that the light at the end of the tunnel is undeniably an oncoming train.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion



By Michael Palmer and Daniel Palmer

“Trauma” is a riveting medical thriller that will grab you by the throat and won’t let you go until long after you have read the intense climax.

Dr. Carrie Bryant is a talented neurosurgical resident who works long hours and is asked to do procedures that are complex for even the most-seasoned of neurosurgeons. While performing brain surgery to remove a tumor, the surgery ends up lasting hours longer than it was originally slated for. If not for Carrie’s brilliance, the patient would not have made it out of the OR. With no sleep, she must help her mentor, Dr. Metcalf, a brilliant yet ego-driven neurosurgeon, with his next surgery. Due to her lack of sleep and the tardiness of Dr. Metcalf, a small, yet debilitating medical error occurs, an error that Carrie takes the blame for, and ultimately causes her to resign her residency.

With no prospects for future employment, she accepts a job at the VA in an experimental program that deals with Deep Brain Stimulation—DBS—for the cure of PTSD. In DBS, a series of electrodes are implanted in the part of the brain that controls emotion, thus erasing the emotion that accompanied soldiers’ traumatic episodes.

Carrie finds flaws in the patients who have undergone the procedure and soon finds them to be among the missing. She goes on a terrifying, twisting ride of self-discovery as she searches for answers that no one is supposed to find.

“Trauma” reminds us that what seems too good to be true, usually is, and that playing God comes with repercussions.

Though Michael is no longer with us, Daniel Palmer has taken the reins, bringing out his finest work and a must read for all!

Reviewed by J.M. LeDuc, author of “Sin,” published by Suspense Publishing, an imprint of Suspense Magazine



By Anne Hillerman

Readers will be overjoyed to know that Hillerman, daughter of the late bestselling author, Tony Hillerman, is going forward with his famous Joe Leaphorn/Jim Chee series about life and times in a Navaho reservation in the southwest. Anne Hillerman is able to keep up with these fabulous characters brilliantly, while making her own main character Jim Chee’s wife, Officer Bernadette Manuelito.

Bernadette brings a woman’s point of view to these tales, as she has to deal with family issues that include Mom and a difficult younger sister, while also bringing law and justice to the area. This tale also gives time to Officer Jim Chee, when he assists his cousin in the Monument Valley region of the reservation that’s having problems with some movie people. Seems a person has gone missing, and a newly dug grave has been found.

Officer Bernadette Manuelito makes a routine traffic stop on a car in New Mexico that turns into something of a mystery when the driver tries to bribe her. Odd, seeing as that the only cargo he’s carrying is two boxes of dirt. Bernadette already has a lot on her plate, with an uncovered drug ring and an investigation into a fire that was started in the middle of nowhere.

In the case of Lt. Joe Leaphorn, he is recovering from an injury but is still able to help solve any problems the others might stumble over. As always, under the guiding hand of their Lieutenant, Chee and the others will get around all the obstacles in their way and do their jobs like the very cool pro’s they are.

Readers will be thrilled to once again join the Navajo Tribal police with their two very interesting cases, and Hillerman has offered up a true gift by providing action, suspense, and great characters, all wrapped up in Southwestern mysteries that are fresh and exciting. Anne is a ‘chip off the old block’ to say the least!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion



By Andrea Kane

In the heart of Tribeca there is a quiet business nestled in a Brownstone called, Forensic Instincts (FI). This is an investigating team that is second to none, providing clients with the ultimate protection by making sure they stay among the living no matter what.

In this new case for FI, Madeline Westfield has had an attempt made on her life. Apparently, Madeline was walking home on a quiet street when she suddenly heard the screech of tires, and vaguely saw the form of a black SUV speeding straight at her. Fortunately, the car only grazed her, and a couple of pedestrians helped her out and took her to the hospital. FI is the team she now needs.

The leader of the company is Casey Woods. Her associates include; Marc, a former Navy SEAL, Ryan, a technical whiz, Claire, a brilliant clairvoyant with the body of a supermodel, and Patrick, a retired FBI agent. And we must not forget, Hero, the FBI trained bloodhound who may just be the smartest member of the team.

Madeline, their new client, used to be very close to team member, Marc, so personal feelings do come into play. As a nurse at Manhattan Memorial, she doesn’t really understand why she would be anyone’s target. However, the hospital is on the edge of a merger with another Manhattan hospital, and the staff is still upset that their hospital administrator, Ronald Lexington, passed away on the operating table during heart surgery that was being done by Madeline’s ex-husband. Suspects begin to pile up in odd ways, but the FI team has faced far worse before this and are not about to lose a client now.

As always, these Forensic Instincts novels are fascinating, memorable, and highly thrilling reads. Fans will love it!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Lyndsay Faye

It is 1845; the time period of the founding, building, and early days of the New York City Police Department. The star of the police department, at the moment, is Timothy Wilde. He is excellent at crime solving, at finding lost or missing items, and does not have to walk a beat. Instead, he is a special detective who works on ‘particular’ cases assigned to him by the Chief of Police. Tim shows off his special skills in this story, but this novel’s major case is about the crime of kidnapping free blacks in the North and selling them back to the South as escaped slaves.

A great cast of characters include members of the New York Committee of Vigilance that was founded in 1835, a committee that prevented the kidnapping of men, women, and children to be sold into slavery. In this narrative, a lovely and very terrified woman, Lucy Adams, practically falls into Tim’s office reporting a robbery. Tim asks her what was stolen, and she replies, “my family.”

When Tim is following up on this search for her sister and son, who are of mixed race, Tim will run into very tough times, including the police who look the other way, and politicians that are cruel to say the least. Tim must deal with the side of the law that doesn’t seem to care about this travesty, choosing instead to turn their focus on other things far more substantial that will bring more wealth to them and to New York.

Great action scenes, an excellent plot, and truly fascinating characters, readers are literally brought back in time in order to stand by the side of the compelling Timothy Wilde, as he fights for justice and against the laws that bring harm to others. As great as the first book in this series, Wilde is a character that should stick around for a long time to come.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion  ■



By Joyce and Jim Lavene

This great cozy is the first in a new series called, Retired Witches Mysteries, and offers up characters that readers will love getting to know.

It seems that the magical powers of Molly, Elsie, and Olivia are beginning to wane. Because of this, they have to find a few witches to replace them so they can retire to Boca Raton and join the AARP. So, with spell book in hand, they set their eyes on Dorothy, a young librarian who doesn’t yet know that she is a witch. Sadly, a great tragedy happens to the trio when Olivia is murdered and their spell book vanishes.

These three women had been close friends for years and didn’t really use their witchy gifts, besides helping out with household work, and do not fully know what can be accomplished when a witch’s mind is truly set to a task. Molly and Elsie now have to put up with a powerful witch; a witch that is stronger and better at the game than their trio had ever been. With Olivia gone, the two friends are forced to keep family members in the dark.  Making matters even worse, Molly’s husband is the homicide detective assigned to investigate Olivia’s death.

It’s not easy for these two to take on this far more powerful witch while keeping their talents under wraps. Will Molly and Elsie be able to stop this new, very difficult problem, so their dream of retiring and moving to Boca can come true? We shall see…

This is a well-written cozy with absolutely terrific characters. The author team has made sure not to simply ‘reveal’ answers; it takes a while to find out who is good, who can be trusted and, of course, who is the bad witch after all. This book assures readers that this will be a very readable series, and they will definitely be looking forward to the next tale.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion   ■



By Kate Parker

This next Victorian Bookshop mystery is a wonderful cozy set in Victorian England featuring Georgia Fenchurch, a bookshop owner who specializes in rare and antique books. But that’s not all she does with her time. Georgia is also an investigator for the Archivist Society in London, a secret group that assists with some very special cases.

Speaking of special cases… The Duke of Blackford comes to the bookshop to speak to Georgia about the murder of a cousin, a relation to Lady Phyllida Monthalf, who is a friend of Georgia’s. The victim’s name is Clara Gattenger. She was killed during a robbery at her home involving the theft of blueprints of a new battleship designed by her husband. Oddly enough, her husband is being held for her murder.

Georgia is asked to go undercover as a widowed “Lady” (Lady Georgina) and a friend to the Duke. Georgia’s friend, Emma, will play Lady’s maid to both her and Phyllida. As the Lady Georgina, she will be brought forward to the social side of London and given a new home, new wardrobe, and a friend of the upper-class in order to help find the real killer, as well as discover where the missing blueprints ended up.

Georgia is not exactly gung ho about the job, especially since she hates the idea of turning her bookshop over to anyone. But this very intelligent lady is needed by the Archivist Society, and Georgia soon finds her life turned into a dream of high fashion, high-society, and escorted by a truly handsome man through it all. It would be thrilling…if not for the job. This is all a sham to catch a killer, and Georgia is ready for it.

This cozy, as is always the case with this author, is very well researched and an extremely fun and interesting read.

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion   ■



By Spencer Quinn

This is another great read about Private Eye Bernie Little and his canine partner—that just happened to have flunked out of the police academy—named Chet.

On the way home after finishing up a case, Chet and Bernie stop at a barbecue shack in Louisiana and mix it up with some bikers. During the ensuing fight, which Bernie and Chet win, they take possession of a pink-handled gun which Bernie takes off one of the bikers. When they get back on the road, instead of heading home they take a vote (all paws in the air), and come to the decision that they will go to Washington D.C. where Bernie’s longtime girlfriend, Suzie Sanchez, has gotten her dream job as a reporter for the Washington Post.

When they arrive at Suzie’s home, one of her sources, Eben St. John, is just leaving, and Bernie, being the jealous type, thinks he is there to romance Suzie and jumps to the wrong conclusion. With a battle avoided, Bernie catches up on his beauty sleep while Suzie and Chet go to see Eben at his office; seems he was helping Suzie with a story that could change some people’s lives dramatically in our nation’s capital. Unfortunately, at the office, they find him very, very dead. Irony at its finest, the murder weapon just happens to be the pink-handled gun.

Bernie is arrested for the crime, then released. But taking the arrest personally, Bernie decides he wants on the case. The police and a man from a government agency warn him away from the investigation but Bernie keeps right on hunting for the killer. Spied on by a drone that Chet believes is a bird that must be caught, this is one mystery that is both entertaining and exciting to solve.

Chet’s narration of these stories are always worth reading, letting dog lovers know exactly what a canine could say if only he could talk. A fun read!

Reviewed by Mary Lignor, Professional Librarian and Co-Owner of The Write Companion   ■