The Butcher’s Son by Dorien Grey

BUTCHER
The Butcher’s Son by Dorien Grey
A Dick Hardesty Mystery, #1
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Short Story (144 pages)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Dick Hardesty is pressed into service when someone starts burning down gay bars all over town and the police chief (nicknamed ‘the butcher’) shrugs the whole thing off. Then drag queens and female impersonators get into the act and Dick is required to sleuth out who is hot and who is not.

Some people are more sympathetic to certain types of victims in high-profile crimes. Dick isn’t one of these people.

I was quite pleased with how three-dimensionally the protagonist was written. The plot spent a great deal of time exploring his backstory which only made his quirks even more memorable than they would have been otherwise. His flaws were given an equal amount of attention. Knowing so much about where they came from and why they’d developed, though, only made me a bigger fan of Dick as a person.

The pacing was a little slow in the beginning due to all of the characters the narrator needed to introduce to the audience. While a few of them could have been introduced a little later on, most of the characters needed to show up right away so that the reader would understand what was happening. I understood why Mr. Grey wrote it this way, although I would have chosen an even higher rating had I not been momentarily confused by all of the people who showed up in the first few chapters.

One of the things that matters the most to me in a good mystery are plot twists that I didn’t see coming. This book was full of twists that I couldn’t figure out in advance, and all of them were really well done. They stayed true to the atmosphere of the story while at the same time prodding me to look at the evidence again to see if there was anything else I might have missed.

The Butcher’s Son was a thrilling introduction to the Dick Hardesty series. If this is any indication of what is to come, I can’t wait to see what happens in book two!

Mangrove Bayou by Stephen Morrill

MANGROVE
Mangrove Bayou by Stephen Morrill
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (163 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Troy Adam, mixed-race, ex-Army, and northern-born, is fired from his job as a Tampa cop. Looking for work, Adam finds himself in Mangrove Bayou, a small gulf coast Florida town located south of Naples and in the midst of the Ten Thousand Islands/Everglades National Park region. In short order he’s hired, on probation, as Mangrove Bayou’s new police chief. Not much of an accomplishment, as there weren’t any other serious candidates, but Adam intends to show his worth.

No sooner does he arrive than a prominent citizen is found dead. Although the medical examiner rules the case an accident, Troy believes all signs point to murder. The town council doubts that Adam or his small department can handle the case, but Adam is determined to prove them wrong. As a hurricane arrives, Adam and his team are up to their elbows in storms and suspects, assisted (or hindered) by a collection of residents who redefine the term eclectic.

It’s never easy to be the new guy in a small town.

Troy’s character development was well done. His persistence was exactly what this case needed, and his intelligent approach to the clues kept me interested in what he would discover next. He felt like a real person to me because so much time had clearly been spent crafting his strengths as well as his weaknesses. The author did a marvelous job with this protagonist.

The cast of characters was extremely large. There were so many different individuals being introduced to the plot that I had trouble keeping track of who everyone was and how they knew one another. This also made it difficult for me to remember important details about the suspects because they were mixed in with so many other people.

The subplots were just as interesting as the main one. I wasn’t expecting this book to include such a wide variety of storylines. It’s difficult to discuss them without giving away spoilers, but I really liked how many different problems Mr. Morrill expected Troy to try to solve simultaneously. It gave the plot a sense of urgency that it otherwise wouldn’t have had.

There were some pacing issues in this story. The narrator spent a great deal of time introducing all of the characters to the reader. While the mystery did make itself known, I would have liked to see it show up in some way much sooner. It felt odd to read so many chapters about the daily lives of ordinary people when I was expecting to solve a case alongside Troy.

With that being said, the murder itself was compelling. I enjoyed seeing how methodically each clue was revealed. While I did figure out the twist ahead of time, it definitely took some work on my part to do so. This isn’t the kind of mystery that reveals all of its secrets easily. Needing to put in that extra effort is something I appreciate when reading this genre.

Mangrove Bayou is a good choice for anyone who enjoys tales set in rural, insular communities.

An Opportunity Seized by Donna Gallagher

SEIZED
An Opportunity Seized by Donna Gallagher
Haven Security Book 1
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (120 pgs)
Other: M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

Two unforeseen moments in time— One brings them together, the other is a danger so real it could tear them apart.
Antoinette ‘Toni’ Grimaldi prefers to keep out of the spotlight, blend in with the crowd and experience life the same as the bulk of the population. Being a mining magnate’s daughter is a difficult persona for her to uphold. She just doesn’t fit in with high society standards, always managing to say something inappropriate or trip over her own feet at the worst possible moment, resulting in that look of disappointment and embarrassment her parents inevitably wear whenever she’s around.

Meeting a handsome stranger who comes to her rescue and asks her out on a date is so much more than Toni could have ever hoped for on her dream holiday—one she is surprised her parents have even permitted her to take alone. Her fairy-tale moment is short-lived, though, when Toni discovers the stranger has been hired by her family to follow her every move—under the guise of keeping her safe.

Jason finds he is drawn to Antoinette. She is nothing at all like the socialite he was expecting to shadow around London’s nightclubs. After an awkward first meeting, he convinces Toni that there is more to his interest in her than just as her bodyguard. To his surprise, his attraction for the soft-spoken, thoughtful woman grows, despite his usual reluctance to commit to any kind of relationship.

Then a disaster at one of the family-owned mines and a string of death threats force Toni to return home, and her need for a bodyguard becomes a life and death reality.

A romantic mystery with a touch of suspense.

An Opportunity Seized caught my attention with its name. I immediately thought that this was a workplace/office mystery. After reading the book I am still not sure what the title has to do with the story.

Toni is an heiress, the daughter of a mining magnate, who just wants to be normal whereas Jason is ex-military and co-owner of Haven Security. Jason is the bodyguard hired by Toni’s father.

While guarding her he develops feelings for her. She falls for him, too. A relationship that was almost impossible to begin with is tested when a mining accident threatens the whole family.

One thing I liked about the relationship was that though both of them were immensely attracted to each other, they also get to know each other on a deeper level than just chemistry. This part of their relationship is shown clearly after the mining accident.

Readers who enjoy frequent sex will be pleased with this short story. It wasn’t the hard core erotic variety but there is enough to make a reader who isn’t used to reading it to possibly become either uncomfortable or start blushing like crazy.

That being said this is still a mystery. I think the beginning was a little slower than the ending. The ending seemed a little fast paced, which I loved.

This is a romantic mystery, heavy on the sexual elements. It worked for me because there was enough of the mystery plot to offset some of the romance.

The ending was a full of surprises. The twists and turns and the new information that were revealed kept me reading to the very end.

Finders Keepers by Stephen King

KEEPERS
Finders Keepers by Stephen King
Publisher: Scribner
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (431 pages)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

A masterful, intensely suspenseful novel about a reader whose obsession with a reclusive writer goes far too far—a book about the power of storytelling, starring the same trio of unlikely and winning heroes King introduced in Mr. Mercedes

“Wake up, genius.” So begins King’s instantly riveting story about a vengeful reader. The genius is John Rothstein, an iconic author who created a famous character, Jimmy Gold, but who hasn’t published a book for decades. Morris Bellamy is livid, not just because Rothstein has stopped providing books, but because the nonconformist Jimmy Gold has sold out for a career in advertising. Morris kills Rothstein and empties his safe of cash, yes, but the real treasure is a trove of notebooks containing at least one more Gold novel.

Morris hides the money and the notebooks, and then he is locked away for another crime. Decades later, a boy named Pete Saubers finds the treasure, and now it is Pete and his family that Bill Hodges, Holly Gibney, and Jerome Robinson must rescue from the ever-more deranged and vengeful Morris when he’s released from prison after thirty-five years.

Not since Misery has King played with the notion of a reader whose obsession with a writer gets dangerous. Finders Keepers is spectacular, heart-pounding suspense, but it is also King writing about how literature shapes a life—for good, for bad, forever.

Imagine being a writer who decides to step down at the top of his or her game. Now imagine knowing the characters have more to say, but you’re not sure it’s any good. Oh, and someone wants you dead…

So brings together one of my favorite threesomes–Bill Hodges, the hard-boiled former detective, Holly Gibney, a slightly off-kilter, bvut sweeet woman who is a genius at the computer and Jerome Robinson, the smart-as-heck teen who seems to know just how to work with Holly and Bill to get the job done.

I love Stephen King’s work. It’s some of my favorites to read. When I saw Finders Keepers was up for preorder, I put in my order. I’m glad I did. I devoured this book in one day–nearly in one sitting. The writing is tight, for King, and suspense-filled. I couldn’t put it down.

I felt like I was right there in the car with Bill, finding the Moleskins and money along with Pete and trying to unravel the mystery before time was up.

I won’t disclose too many details. The story is just that delicious and should be savored. There are plot twists all over the place and reading this was like spending time with old friends while working out a mystery.

If you’re in the mood for something dark and full of suspense, then pick up this gripping read.

June Mystery/Suspense Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Stone Cold by Marilyn Todd

StoneCold
Stone Cold: A Claudia Seferius Mystery by Marilyn Todd
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (179 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

The latest adventure for the Roman sleuth and glamorous heroine of I, Claudia Claudia was just ten years old when her father marched off to war and never came home. Now it’s time to uncover the truth about his disappearance. The search takes her to the dense, dark forests of Gaul, where Druid Law rules and human sacrifice is still practised. And staying at the villa of the cold, egotistical Marcia, who has even commissioned a spectacular tomb to ensure her immortality, Claudia can’t help noticing that several young women have disappeared from the local area. Suspicion quickly falls on a mysterious woodsman known as the Scarecrow, but she isn’t convinced. Nor has it escaped her notice that each victim is unblemished and in the fullness of bloom. Just as she is herself . . .

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!!

In the Dark by Lyla Sinclair

DARK
In the Dark by Lyla Sinclair
Dark Minds Book 1
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (181 Pages)
Other: BDSM, Forced Seduction, Anal Sex/Anal Play, Spanking, M/F
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Sorrel

At the age of 11, Ana Villarreal suffered from unexplained blindness for over a week. During this time, a young man crept into her room, kissed her, and whispered words in her ear that sent a chill down her spine. Twelve years later, Ana is living in New York City, the youngest manager at her company, but work is all she has. She rushes home at night and locks herself in, afraid he is still out there, somewhere, looking for her.

Until she meets Damien through the company’s online help chat, and, eventually, asks him to call her. At first, he refuses to meet in person, claiming he’s a disfigured recluse who rarely leaves his house. When he finally allows Ana to visit him, she suspects the black surgical mask he wears to cover his “disfigurement” is a farce, but, still, she becomes obsessed with him. Even though she’s not allowed to see his face. Even though she must confront her fear of total darkness to be with him. Even though, in a moment of passion, he utters a sentence almost exactly like the one she heard in her bedroom 12 years ago.

There’s something about Damien that allows her to overcome her aversion to men. Only with him can her needy body find release. As Ana submits to his shocking demands, his claims seem more suspicious, and she must ask herself whether Damien is the love of her life, or her stalker who’s come to claim her, body and soul.

Our instinct is to always protect ourselves from harm, even if those hurts are purely of the soul.

I was very skeptical when I read the synopsis. Now, I can say for sure that this novel is not for the faint of heart. Readers who enjoy erotic romance, but don’t enjoy extreme and dark erotic, will likely not enjoy this one. In the Dark mostly certainly qualifies as a dark erotic novel with an added mystery and suspense. The mystery and suspense is more about the past but it influences the present.

Ana’s past has never really left or rather she hasn’t been able to let go of it. She has a successful professional life. Even if certain aspects of her profession are affected by her past, she’s been able to build a successful career. Her personal life is a whole other matter.

Damien had a rough life thanks to his crazy mother. He is a self-proclaimed hermit because of a disfigurement that occurred when he was a child. He never goes out, but because of his intelligence he has money and time. He can do anything he wants. It made it a little unbelievable for me that in all these years he never really went anywhere. But being an only child may have made it a lot easier to feel comfortable without needing companionship.

Damien and Ana’s past made them who they are and it’s also what makes them a great couple. They understand each other a lot better than anyone else would have. Damien’s disfigurement makes him a lover of the safety that the darkness provides while Ana’s encounter with a stranger as a child, makes her fear the darkness and what it holds.

Ms. Sinclair did a great job with the plot. But I think the characters are not that easy to understand. For example, Damien is very, very adamant that Ana will hate him and even be repulsed with him when she sees his face. It became a little repetitious. Likewise, when Ana was asked about what else happened with her when she was a child, she was adamant that nothing happened. Her denial of what triggered her issues with the dark was a little over the top. It was refreshing when she finally admits to the reason behind her very legitimate fears.

Ana and Damien’s relationship started out through online chatting. I think that played a big part in not only getting them together but also in their trust with each other. They had time to bond outside of their ‘normal’ world. The mystery and suspense had me hooked right until the end.

People of the Songtrail by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear

PEOPLE
People of the Songtrail by W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (342 pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

On the shores of the sparsely populated American wilderness, a small group of intrepid settlers have landed, seeking freedom to worship and prosper far from the religious strife and political upheaval that plague a war-ridden Europe . . .

500 years before Columbus set sail.

While it has long been known that Viking ships explored the American coast, recent archaeological evidence suggests a far more vast and permanent settlement. It is from this evidence that archaeologists and early American history experts Kathy and Michael Gear weave their extraordinary tale.

People of the Songtrail is the saga of the first European settlers to land on the shores of the new world. It is a story, like so many in America’s history, of the swift and violent clash of cultures, and extraordinary men and women on both sides who are brave enough to work for the fragile hope of peace. A story that has remained untold, until now.

Five Hundred years before Columbus, the Vikings set sail. When they landed and met Native Americans, both worlds changed forever, but none more so than young Thyra, an accomplished practitioner of Odin magic.

The year is A.D. 1002, and warfare has broken out in Europe after King Aethelred’s slaughter of the Danish part of England, the Danelaw. In the midst of the turmoil, a great Viking seeress is kidnapped and her young daughter, Thyra, enslaved.

Thirteen years later, Thyra finds herself aboard a Viking ship filled with colonists headed to Vinland. Though she is a thrall to the wicked Thorlak the Lawspeaker, Thyra has been learning the skills of the Darkness-Riders, powerful practitioners of Odin magic. Her goal is to find her mother. As the mystery of who abducted her mother and what happened to her unfolds, it becomes clear Thyra is not the only person trying to find the legendary Vethild. In England, King Aethelred’s son, Edmund, is massing forces to seize his father’s throne, and the Danish king is just waiting for the clash so he can attack and take England as his own. All sides want Vethild. Some want her alive. Some want her dead.

The story includes majestic descriptions of crossing the ocean during the Medieval Warm Period, a dramatic period of global warming, and murderous confrontations between North America’s native peoples and Vikings. The violence is softened by touches of mysticism and magic that enhance the plot.

The thread that binds the story together is the growing romance between the young Anchorite slave, Kiran, and Thyra. But two of the most complex and interesting characters are the rough-hewn former criminal, Godi Gunnar, and a tenderhearted Native American shaman, old Asson. Asson’s people, the People of the Songtrail, know they must defeat the Viking invaders or they will never be safe.

This marvelous story also features a Glossary of Terms, which is helpful with the Norse terminology used throughout the book.

If you enjoy historical fiction featuring ancient cultures in the American wilderness or sailing the sea with Norsemen, then this story of first contact between Native Americans and Vikings is an absolute must-read!

Centerfold by Kris Norris

CENTER
Centerfold by Kris Norris
Publisher: Totally Bound
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Short Story (123 pages)
Other: MMF, MM, MF, anal play/intercourse, spanking, exhibitionism
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Honeysuckle

Lights. Camera…die.

Detective Scarlet Reid has spent the past three months trying to make her alter ego, Ms. December, a ghost of Christmas past. Forced to become the sexy centerfold in a high-stakes undercover assignment, she’s spent more time pulling copies of her naked butt off the bulletin boards at the precinct than she has collaring criminals—and it’s far from over.

A deadly agenda. A gruesome new case has revealed a disturbing trend—one that has placed Scarlet on a list of possible targets. With limited options, she’s going to have to resurrect Ms. December—and her old partnership—which means facing the one man who stole more than just a kiss.

A love worth fighting for. Federal Agent Roman Kinkaid has some explaining to do. His final assignment with Scarlet changed him, and he’s been running from her ever since. But he’s ready to make things right—only he’s not alone. His partner and lover, Special Agent Aiden Cross, is just as invested and determined as Roman is to claim Scarlet as theirs. And they aren’t taking no for an answer, especially when their souls—and Scarlet’s life—are on the line.

They have three weeks to catch the stalker before Scarlet’s time runs out and they lose their one chance at a happy ending.

Angel is a centerfold. Okay, so the popular 80’s song by the J Giles Band pretty much became a reoccurring earworm throughout reading this sexy little short story.

Scarlet, aka Ms. December, is deep undercover when the book opens. Actually, she’s very exposed and is wishing for some cover. I had to laugh in the beginning because she is so clearly uncomfortable in her role as a play bunny being photographed in her birthday suit. She holds her cover well and thanks to a nasty little man who likes to watch, she gets some serious and sweaty one on one time with her partner, Roman. And then all goes to pot. No pun intended but readers will understand that line when they read the book.

Circumstances bring them back to the scene of a crime but it isn’t just Scarlet and Roman. Roman’s partner in and out of bed, Aiden, has feelings for Scarlet and is determined to keep her safe so he and Roman can show her they’re in it for the long haul.

The story was fun and well developed. The sex, HOT! Great dialogue and a villain who isn’t revealed until the very end. There are clues and red herrings but it was fun to guess along the way. This story had it all. What I liked best were the characters themselves. I wish I knew how Roman and Aiden became a couple. These guys are both heavy on the alpha side and both happy to give an erotic spanking when opportunity presents itself. Let’s just say they’re a tiny bit obsessed with Scarlet’s posterior. But it’s sweet and sexy at the same time. They truly dote on her and I couldn’t help but love watching them engage.

Something else I appreciated about this book is that Ms. Norris didn’t weigh the story down with tragic back stories for the characters. They are all in law enforcement in one form or another and the present is what’s emphasized rather than their pasts. I’m not saying how they came to be in the present isn’t important but where they’ve been isn’t as important as where they’re going. The only caveat to that is that I didn’t get to see how Scarlet came to be interested in Aiden before he enters the picture and she’s admitting to herself that she’s been attracted since the first time they met. That was glossed over but it didn’t kill the book for me. I was cheering for them as soon as Aiden walked into the room and started taking charge. It was intoxicating.

I could happily read more stories with Scarlet, Roman and Aiden at center stage. The chemistry was there and so was the love.

This is a quick read for someone who doesn’t have much time but wants a story that is totally satisfying. I’ll be checking out more Ms. Norris’ books to find other great stories.

Stay of Execution by Kellie Larsen Murphy

STAY
Stay of Execution by Kellie Larsen Murphy
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (311 pgs)
Rated 4 stars
Reviewed by Snapdragon

Little Springs was just a small college town, the kind of town where everyone knew everyone and violent crime was nonexistent—until a series of rapes and murders at the college. After an outbreak of fear and hysteria, only the arrest and conviction of Leo Spradlin, the “Co-Ed Killer,” could end the terror.

Years later, Spradlin is suddenly cleared based on unshakable DNA evidence, and no one is more surprised than Detective Mike Cancini. As new questions surround the identity of the true “Co-Ed Killer,” Cancini struggles to accept his role in the conviction of an innocent man. Suspicions mount when Spradlin’s release coincides with a fresh wave of rapes and murders at the college, eerily reminiscent of the original crimes. Cancini is drawn back to Little Springs, caught in a race against time to uncover the identity of the latest “Co-Ed Killer” before the next girl dies…

Stay of Execution opens every bit as grim as we expect from the title. It’s a small town and the conviction rang true, way back when, and a little matter of changing evidence isn’t going to change people’s minds. They know who the guilty party is.

Detective Michael Cancini is devastated to see this old case fall through: it was a seriously dark case, involving the years-ago deaths of five young women. New evidence came to light, and it changes everything…and unknown to him, a young reporter, Julia Manning, has also decided to investigate.

Eerily, we can see into the minds of all three: the two ‘on the case’ as well as the killer. Ms. Murphy presents these viewpoints skillfully, and we slowly begin to puzzle out this crime, both from the strictly evidence-collected side, as well as from the motivation side. We also get a strong sense of public opinion; a sense of the fear running through the small town. There were the rapes and murders and now there might be… revenge? The possibility of revenge amps up what is already an eerie mystery to one more fitting in the ‘thriller’ category.

The forensic evidence, faults with DNA testing, and what caused the re-examination of evidence is thoroughly discussed, in an interesting and informative way. Fans of the facts-based contemporary mystery/whodunits will really enjoy the discussions focused on forensics. The case doesn’t dwell long on forensics though; various characters carry the story forward at speed. The local barkeep knows everyone, or he knows someone who knows someone. Regular old gossips supply some information, too. There’s a real sense that everyone’s business is known and discussed, but for some things… it’s not.

The author’s maddeningly casual approach to pronouns makes you guess about who is meant, on occasion. It wouldn’t be so irritating if the story weren’t so riveting! However, it’s a small complaint, in an otherwise well-plotted, well-written mystery. Do put Stay of Execution on your to-read list.

Stone Cold: A Claudia Seferius Mystery by Marilyn Todd

StoneCold
Stone Cold: A Claudia Seferius Mystery by Marilyn Todd
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (179 Pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

The latest adventure for the Roman sleuth and glamorous heroine of I, Claudia Claudia was just ten years old when her father marched off to war and never came home. Now it’s time to uncover the truth about his disappearance. The search takes her to the dense, dark forests of Gaul, where Druid Law rules and human sacrifice is still practised. And staying at the villa of the cold, egotistical Marcia, who has even commissioned a spectacular tomb to ensure her immortality, Claudia can’t help noticing that several young women have disappeared from the local area. Suspicion quickly falls on a mysterious woodsman known as the Scarecrow, but she isn’t convinced. Nor has it escaped her notice that each victim is unblemished and in the fullness of bloom. Just as she is herself . . .

Claudia Seferius is a widow who is doing her best to succeed on her own. This is never easy, but it is especially challenging in Ancient Rome. In addition to her usual difficulties, she has decided to head to Gaul in order to discover the truth about her father’s disappearance when she was only ten years old. Each year her father would go off with the camp followers at the start of the campaign season and then each October he would return. But the year she turned ten he did not returned. Her mother tried unsuccessfully to get answers. Now it was Claudia’s turn, but it seems that no one can help. No one will say what happened in Santonum fifteen years ago. Any records are said to have been lost.

“Every person she spoke to would really have liked to have helped, were it not for the Fates conspiring against them. You wouldn’t credit so many natural disasters could have befallen one city, but it seemed there was no limit to the excuses she’d encountered, much less the inventiveness of the excusers. Quite why these people hadn’t taken up careers as playwrights she had no idea, but if Offialdom was hoping Claudia Seferius would give up and go home, it might as well wait for the moon to drop out of the sky.”

I really liked Claudia. She is a strong, capable woman with a mind of her own. She gets caught up in a few other mysteries while she is trying to find her father and the plot twists and turns between the various story lines. She stays at the villa of a very wealthy woman, Marcia, and it becomes apparent that there are some extremely dark secrets hidden there. Does Marcia know? Can Claudia find out why people are disappearing?

The setting is wonderful. Details abound so that I truly felt as if I’d been transported back in time to Ancient Gaul, during the time when the Druids still perform human sacrifices, albeit now in secret, in order to maintain their power over the people, defying Rome.

Stone Cold is the eleventh novel in this series, and while I haven’t yet read them all, I can certainly recommend them to any reader who enjoys a good historical mystery.