Thursday, September 24, 2020
Mackenzie Almeida runs Mac’s Bikes in the small seaside village of Westham, MA where she is kept busy with bicycle repairs and rentals. She usually has help from her half-brother Derrick and a couple of other people, but they are suddenly proving unreliable. Things only get worse when the local handyman meets with an accident, if once can call being stabbed to death with a fishing knife an accident. The local police certainly don’t, and they find Mac a suspicious character because she argued with Jake not long before. Mac doesn’t really have any fears they’ll try to pin the murder on her. . . but that fishing knife looks very much like one owned by her brother Derrick.
And Derrick has disappeared.
This is the first in the Cozy Capers Book Group Mystery series. As with a lot of “first in series” books, a lot of ink is spent introducing characters, the layout of the town, Mac’s pet parrot, her baker boyfriend, etc. Also as is the case with many cozy mysteries, a colorful cast is required so Mac’s father is a minister from Cape Verde, her mother is an astrologer, and the police detective is half Wampanoag. Brother Derrick is a recovering alcoholic with a young daughter and Mac’s beau is a hunky baker. As the subtitle suggests, Mac is a member of a book group and they decide they will solve the mystery.
Day writes well and her characters are enjoyable. The plot—well, while the murder investigation goes on, the plot is more concerned with introducing characters and their problems. The solution is interesting but comes via info drops tucked in at the end rather that sprinkled throughout the story. As my tastes run more to the “fair play” mysteries where the reader has enough clues to solve it, I was disappointed. Those looking primarily for a nice visit with likeable characters will find this book to be a treat.
The second book in the series, Murder at the Taffy Shop is due out in March 2021. Day also writes the “Country Store Mystery Series” set in Indiana. (The last piece of information is relevant because I have a friend from Indiana who was interested to see there was a cozy mystery set there.)
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
Badge Heavy is the third book in the Charlie 316 series and picks up shortly after Never The Crime ended. The Anti-Crime Team is up and running and working the streets of Spokane hard. Officer Gary Stone is on ACT along with Tyler Garrett as well as well with rookie Jun Yang and veteran officer Ray Zielinski. While the four officers are on the team and, in theory, working together, they are fragmented and have settled into a Stone/Garett and Yang/Zielinski pairing. Despite their internal issues, they are generating results in their pursuit of HPOs--High Profile Offenders.
It has been nearly two years since Garrett got away with murder and more. Captain Tom Farrell knows Garrett is dirty. Farrell just can’t prove it. The Anti-Crime Team was supposed to be a trap for Garrett, but it isn’t working out that way at all. If anything, it has allowed Garrett to further entrench himself in the Department and improve his status. Trying to catch Garrett and prove his criminal activities is slowly becoming an insurmountable problem. Farrell does have a couple of ideas though they could just as easily backfire. As readers familiar with the series already know, Farrell is not the only police officer on the hunt sure Garrett is dirty.
Badge Heavy by Frank Zafiro and Colin Conway is another rock-solid installment in this highly entertaining police procedural series. Politics and police work are heavily intertwined in real life and they certainly are in the series. The authors have managed to keep ratcheting the tension in each installment and then they rally blow the doors off with the end of Badge Heavy. This is a series that concludes with the November release of Code Four.
While it is always important to read any series in order, that absolutely is a must here. Relationships evolve and change over time and there are many changes, personally and professionally, for these characters as time passes. The crime problem and the pollical landscape play major character roles in this series and those issues change as a reaction to events and other factors. That ongoing aspect is a key part of this complicated series.
Badge Heavy: A Charlie 316 Novel is highly recommended.
Badge Heavy: A Charlie 316 Novel
Down & Out Books
eBook (available in print format)
I received a digital ARC of this read from author Frank Zafiro weeks ago with no expectation of a review.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2020
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
We feature new 20 reviews in each issue of Crime Review (www.crimereview.co.uk), together with a top industry interview. This time it’s author DA Mishani in the Countdown hot seat: http://crimereview.co.uk/page.php/interview/8795
We’re on Twitter at:
Crime Review: @CrimeReviewUK
Linda Wilson: @CrimeReviewer
Sharon Wheeler: @lartonmedia
This week’s reviews are:
STORMBREAKER by Anthony Horowitz, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Reluctant 14-year-old spy Alex Rider is sent to Cornwall to investigate rich philanthropist Herod Sayle and his plan to install a new generation of computer in every school in the UK. Alex soon realises that there’s a lot more to the Stormbreakers than Sayle is letting on, and with that knowledge comes extreme danger.
MAIGRET AND MONSIEUR CHARLES by Georges Simenon, reviewed by Chris Roberts
In his last appearance, Maigret investigates the disappearance of Monsieur Charles, a wealthy lawyer well-known in Paris nightclubs.
POINT BLANC by Anthony Horowitz, reviewed by Linda Wilson
Reluctant teenage spy Alex Rider is sent undercover in an exclusive school for the rebellious offspring of some of the world’s richest people to find out what links two unexplained deaths to Point Blanc academy in the Alps.
THE MAN IN THE WOODS by Ilaria Tuti, reviewed by Viv Beeby
There is a creepy man in the woods; a bad man with the face of a skull. And if you don't watch out he's coming to get you …
THE CABIN by Jørn Lier Horst, reviewed by Ewa Sherman
Chief Inspector William Wisting is assigned to lead a top-secret investigation into the life of a recently deceased controversial politician. When he finds boxes full of foreign currency in his cabin, he also manages to unearth possible links to two 15-year-old cold cases, one of them of a missing young man.
HITLER’S PEACE by Philip Kerr, reviewer by Chris Roberts
In autumn 1943 the tide of war has turned and Germany is putting out peace feelers. But the response of the allies will be settled in Tehran.
THE STRANGER by Simon Conway, review by John Cleal
MI6 agent Jude Lyon must deal with past events which threaten the credibility of his agency – and a terrifying new threat to the whole of the British establishment.
FORGET ME by Andrew Ewart, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Hannah wants to know the secret her husband can’t remember, whatever the cost.
THE NIGHT OF SHOOTING STARS by Ben Pastor, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Lieutenant-Colonel Martin von Bora is in Berlin in July 1944, directed to investigate the murder of a prominent clairvoyant, but the rumours of political conspiracy suggest that Bora himself is at risk.
KISS THE GIRLS AND MAKE THEM CRY by Mary Higgins Clark, reviewed by John
Investigative journalist Gina Kane receives an email describing the abuse of a woman by a well-known figure at a television news network that’s on the verge of a multi-billion dollar stock market flotation.
FAIR WARNING by Michael Connelly reviewed by Linda Wilson
When journalist Jack McEvoy finds himself a person of interest in the murder of a woman he dated once, he’s determined to clear his own name, as the police don’t seem to be making any moves in that direction.
WILD DOG by Serge Joncour, reviewed by John Cleal
Retired actress Lise persuades her producer husband to holiday in the wild hills of the Causse de Limogne. He must come to terms with his fear of nature and rediscover the basic instincts common to both man and animal.
THE STRANGER GAME by Peter Gadol, reviewed by Kati Barr-Taylor
Rebecca’s boyfriend is missing. But she is unsure if he is licking his wounds, or if has he become another victim of an increasingly dangerous game sweeping Los Angeles and beyond.
HAMMER TO FALL by John Lawton, reviewed by Chris Roberts
Joe Wilderness spies for Britain in 1960s Finland and Prague and runs into several people with whom he shares a history.
BONE CHINA by Laura Purcell, reviewed by John Cleal
Nurse-companion Hester Why flees London for a position at the lonely Morvoren House on a desolate Cornish clifftop where she finds herself faced with a dark and dangerous situation linked to events of 40 years before.
THE LAST WIFE by Karen Hamilton, reviewed by Linda Wilson
After Nina’s death, her best friend Marie steps in to help her grieving husband with two children and a large house, gradually taking over more and more of her friend’s former life. But not everyone thinks that’s a good thing.
THE AOSAWA MURDERS by Riku Onda, reviewed by Chris Roberts
The poisoning of celebrants at a Japanese family birthday party is a mystery, even when the culprit admits responsibility. The true story takes years to emerge.
HAVEN’T THEY GROWN by Sophie Hannah, reviewed by Sylvia Maughan
Beth Leeson sees an old friend whom she has not seen for 12 years. Her friend has aged appropriately, but her children appear not to have aged at all. Is Beth mistaken about what she saw?
LAKE CHILD by Isabel Ashdown, reviewed by John Barnbrook
Eva Olsen cannot remember much about the last year of her life and is horrified that her parents are keeping her locked in an attic room with no contact with her old friends. And her parents are behaving oddly.
CORRUPT BODIES by Peter Everett, reviewed by John Cleal
When the author becomes superintendent of Southwark mortuary, he walks into a corrupt world of sales of body parts, theft, bribery and kickbacks.
Sharon and Linda
Monday, September 21, 2020
Vulnerable by Mary Burton (Pinnacle, 2016) is the fourth book in her series about the Morgans of Nashville, Tennessee. Georgia Morgan is the youngest of the family with three older brothers, all working in law enforcement agencies. She is a forensic technician in the Nashville Police Department, freshly assigned to a cold case. Five years ago, three teenagers went into a local park that covers 2600 acres and didn’t come home. Two days later one of them was found unconscious with a head injury and broken bones. She had no recall of the day, consistent with the severity of the concussion, and the other two teenagers were never located. Police thought the two had perhaps run away together but the wealthy father of one missing teen denied the possibility. He recently renewed his pressure on the police department to find his son, hence the assignment of the case to Georgia and homicide detective Jake Bishop.
The discovery of a murdered college student leads to a hidden cave in the park where the remains of the two missing teenagers were found. The likelihood that more than one murderer knew about the remote cave seems unlikely to the police, so they begin searching for links between the high school seniors and the college student and ways to identify someone they fear is a serial killer. They revisit the people who were around the missing teenagers in the last months before their disappearance and find that the passing of time has jarred some secrets loose.
On one level this story is a good police procedural with a lot of forensics. On another, it’s a predictable romance, which ordinarily would be enough for me to put a book down. In this case the investigation and the mystery kept me reading. Georgia’s side gig of singing in a bar adds a nice Nashville touch. The author is described on Amazon as specializing in romantic suspense, which doesn’t really apply to a story so heavy on law enforcement process and forensics. This seems to be another of those books that does not clearly fall into any one category. Recommended for readers who enjoy a romance along with their mystery.
· File Size: 430 KB
· Publication Date: March 29, 2016
· Print Length: 305 pages
· Publisher: Pinnacle Books (March 29, 2016)
· Language: English
· ASIN: B010ZZXWRW
Aubrey Hamilton ©2020
Aubrey Hamilton is a former librarian who works on Federal It projects by day and reads mysteries at night.
Sunday, September 20, 2020
Saturday, September 19, 2020
Up in KRL this morning a review and ebook giveaway of "Kickbacks, Kayaks, & Kidnapping" by Tonya Kappes
And a review and ebook giveaway of "Poison in Paradise" by Melissa Baldwin along with an interesting interview with Melissa
We also have a review and giveaway of "The Fixer's Daughter" by Hy Conrad along with an interesting guest post by Hy about moving into self publishing
And reviews of the latest seasons of "Endeavour" and "Father Brown"
Up during the week mystery author Victoria Hamilton shared her Top 5 Mysteries Read During the Pandemic
And we had a special midweek guest post by mystery author Randy Overbeck
Up in KRL News and Reviews this week a review and giveaway of "The Solace of the Bay Leaves" by Leslie Budewitz
And a review and giveaway of "The Quiet Girl" by S.F. Kosa
And a review of "A Body on the Hill" by Brad Shreve along with a giveaway of a $25 Amazon gift card
Friday, September 18, 2020
“The Zygma Gambit” comes next and was also published in the very good The Lizard’s Ardent Uniform and Other Stories. Set a bit before the preceding story, Kyler Knightly is one of those very special people known as “dreamers” and is employed by Continuity Inc. Through their dreams the dreamers have the ability to foresee the future. Kyler has been awakened by a dream in his own bed in the early morning hours of April 14, 2223. For this to happen outside of the Precog bays where he normally works means that this dream was very powerful and definitely coming true. Kyler has to get to his Uncle Damon Cole and tell him about the dream before Cole goes on his mission.