March Mystery/Suspense Book of the Month Poll Winner ~ Body in the Box by ER Fallon


Body in the Box by E R Fallon
Publisher: Joffe Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (227 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

THE FRAIL BODY OF A YOUNG BOY IS FOUND DISCARDED IN AN OLD CARDBOARD BOX. EVEN IN A HARD-EDGED TOWN USED TO DEADLY CRIMES, THIS TOUCHES A NERVE.

New York Times bestselling author Da Chen has said E.R. Fallon writes the kind of stories that “. . . we stay up all night to finish.”

Who dumped the boy’s body in this desolate part of the city and why? And why is he missing his spleen?

BODY IN THE BOX is the first book in a gripping new mystery series featuring three very different homicide detectives.

Detectives Dino Cooper and Terry Jackson have been partners and friends for years. Now a new detective is drafted in to join them: Rebecca Everhart. They must quickly learn to work together on the biggest case of their careers, the disturbing discovery of the ‘Body in the Box’, as it’s known by the captivated media and the city’s worried citizens.

The case takes the three detectives deep inside the lives of Newark’s insular Eastern European immigrant community and the world of unlawful medical practices. It also brings back an eerie childhood memory of Dino’s, where a boy from his neighborhood vanished and was never seen again.

What appears to be a straightforward, modern-day murder case has more to do with the past than the present, and the detectives come to a genuinely unnerving — and life-threatening — conclusion.

READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE!

Never Go Alone by Denison Hatch


Never Go Alone by Denison Hatch
Publisher: Lookout Press
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full (294 pgs)
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

THE FIRST RULE IS: NEVER GO ALONE.

“Never Go Alone is an explosive return for both Denison Hatch and his hero.” – BestThrillers.com

A rash of elaborate cat burglaries of luxury buildings in Manhattan has the city panicked.

When a group of social media obsessed millennials–a loosely organized crew that call themselves “urban explorers”–are suspected in the heists, undercover NYPD detective Jake Rivett is assigned the case.

Rivett dives deep into the urban exploration scene in pursuit of the truth. But what, and who, he finds–deep in the sewers, up in the cranes above under-construction skyscrapers, and everywhere else in New York–will change not only Jake, but the city itself.

I never heard of the urban exploration scene … so from the start, this was all new to me. Never Go Alone starts with a gang of them, accessing a penthouse to steal. I gotta admit, I’m terrified of heights, so some of the things they did were enough to make my heart stop. Doesn’t help them one bit that one of the folks they hit is one of the richest, most influential people in the city.

We move on to Jake Rivett, who’s working undercover to bust a group doing bank heists. Things don’t turn out the way he wanted and he’s furious with his boss. Still, he picks up the new case and goes under to meet and catch the group of urban explorer thieves.

I didn’t read book one about Jake, Flash Crash, and while I very much enjoy this book, I think it might have helped. There are quite a few characters in the book and I suspect there’s a lot of backstory that would have helped me understand some of the dynamics. Still, I managed to get some pretty quick ideas of who I liked and who I didn’t.

Jake was also a tough hero for me. He thrives on being undercover and would likely shrivel and die behind a desk. He reminds me a little of Dexter (from the TV show), where he has a propensity for something that’s bad, but channels it into something that has higher moral ground. I may not have always agreed with his behavior, but it was always for the greater good. Jake has all the makings of a great criminal, which is why he’s so good undercover. Don’t get me wrong, he also has a very distinctive sense of right and wrong.

The action here is pretty much non-stop. There is so much going on, that sometimes I got a little lost and had to reread to make sure I got it. Also, there are times when the author slows the action by stopping to explain something; for example at the beginning, he stopped to explain oxy-acetylene bombings, what they were, how they worked. Not that I didn’t appreciate the knowledge, but it did stop forward movement at bit. This happened now and then throughout.

Still, all-in-all Never Go Alone is, at its heart, a race to the end. And there are some surprises there, at the end. I’m sure some of them will make the next book even more interesting. If you’re looking for a complex, action-packed story with a man who’s a little bit of an anti-hero, I think you’ll like this one. However, you might want to try Flash Crash first.

Allegiance by Marilee Brothers


Allegiance by Marilee Brothers
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full (312 pgs)
Heat: Hot
Rated: 4 stars
Review by Poppy

Transplanted California girl, Melanie Sullivan, vows to stay in Oregon until she nails the killer of her best friend, Dani. Mel’s ability to search a soul for innocence or guilt is a big plus. Her love for Billy the Kid, former Marine and now a detective with the 3 Peaks police department is also a factor in her decision. She’s not quite sure what’s going on with Billy. Has the PTSD from his Middle East deployments returned?

When a hate crime is committed in 3 Peaks, Mel is recruited by sexy Homeland Security agent, Mick, who requires her soul-reading ability. Mick doesn’t hide his feelings. He’s more than eager to step in if Billy steps out, a complication Mel doesn’t need or want. As she goes undercover, Mel embarks on a dangerous journey, aided by her Uncle Paco and devoted friends. Along the way, she learns a valuable lesson about the power of forgiveness.

Filled with interesting and unique characters, and a heroine with a unique ability, Allegiance was absolutely entertaining.

We jump right into the story, after an off the page quickie with her boyfriend, Billy. Mel is sure she knows who killed her best friend and is basically stalking him in order to prove it. She’s asked for help from another friend, Mick, who wants to be more than friends… but then more things start happening.

Okay, first the one and only thing I didn’t like about this story: the point of view. It’s told in first person, present tense and it honestly drove me crazy. Had I known this ahead of time, I likely wouldn’t have selected it for review, because it’s the one POV I can not stand. Despite the engaging stories and characters here, I kept putting the book down and struggled to make it through simply because of the chosen POV. This is absolutely a personal preference, but I had to put it out there because it overshadowed everything else for me.

That said, the author’s done a fantastic job populating her story with interesting, quirky characters. While it’s clear there was a story previous to this, I had no issues at all keeping up with this book. Perhaps my experience would have been richer if I’d read the first book, but I honestly didn’t feel like I was missing anything.

I liked Mel. I wouldn’t want to be in her shoes…the ability to “read” a person by looking into their eyes would be both disturbing and annoying. As much as we might profess the desire to know the truth, it’s a heavy burden to bear.  She handles it quite well.

I definitely had my preference for which of the two men who wanted her I liked best. I’m not going to say here because I want to avoid spoilers, but I don’t think my preference was the same as Mel’s despite the way things were situated at the end of this book.  I didn’t feel like she had honest feelings for the one she’s with at the end, so the next book should be interesting.

The mystery kept me engaged and turning pages and the wrap up was solid and believable. But the strength of this story was absolutely the characters. I’m a huge fan of character driven fiction, so that was a huge plus for me.

All in all, Allegiance is a good book. Likely had a different POV been chosen, I’d have rated it higher and enjoyed it more. If that type of thing doesn’t bother you, then I highly recommend it… it’s a solid book.

The Halo Effect by Anne D. LeClaire


The Halo Effect by Anne D. LeClaire
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary, Mainstream Fiction
Length: Full Length (374 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

In this tour de force, a father, shaken by tragedy, tries to avenge his daughter’s murder—and restore his family’s shattered life.

It was supposed to be a typical October evening for renowned portrait artist Will Light. Over dinner of lamb tagine, his wife, Sophie, would share news about chorus rehearsals for the upcoming holiday concert, and their teenage daughter, Lucy, would chatter about French club and field hockey. Only Lucy never came home. Her body was found, days later, in the woods.

The Eastern Seaboard town of Port Fortune used to be Will’s comfort. Now, there’s no safe harbor for him. Not even when Father Gervase asks Will to paint portraits of saints for the new cathedral, using the townspeople as models. The only thing Will sees in each face is a mask of the darkness of evil. And he just might be painting his daughter’s killer.

As Will navigates his rage and heartbreak, Sophie tries to move on; Father Gervase becomes an unexpected ally; and Rain, Lucy’s best friend, shrouds herself in a near-silent fugue. Their paths collide in a series of inextricably linked, dark, dangerous moments that could lead to their undoing…or to their redemption.

There’s nothing better than a good whodunit and while The Halo Effect isn’t your run of the mill one, it’s nevertheless a page turner. I love the opening lines: Every day is ordinary. Until It isn’t.

One thing I liked about this book was that the author chose to dive straight into the story. While there was a prologue to set the stage, Ms. LeClaire introduced us quickly to the main character Will who is also the first person narrator of the story. He’s a sympathetic one and not just because his daughter Lucy doesn’t return home one night. There’s something of everyone in him, strength and yet vulnerability all wrapped into one. Something which I found make him complex and likeable.

I’d call this a mystery but at the same time it has a literary feel to it as Will narrates the story of his struggle to survive after Lucy’s gone, his relationship with his wife, and how he sets out to find the truth about his daughter.

Although this is a long book, it’s definitely a fast paced page turner. It’s almost as if, like Will, you want to find out what happened and who took Lucy’s life. The tension mounts and finally you’re given the relief you’re been craving as you read on to finish the story and say goodbye to Will.

If you’re mystery fan looking for something just a little different, I’d say give this book a try because I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Casting Bones by Don Bruns


Casting Bones by Don Bruns
Publisher: Severn House
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (250 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

Introducing New Orleans homicide detective Quentin Archer in the first of a brand-new mystery series.

When a prominent New Orleans judge is brutally murdered, former Detroit cop Quentin Archer is handed the case. His enquiries will lead him into a world of darkness and mysticism which underpins the carefree atmosphere of the Big Easy. Interrogating crooked police officers, a pickpocket, a bartender with underground contacts and a swamp dweller, Archer uncovers some troubling facts about the late judge’s past. But it’s only when he encounters a beautiful young voodoo practitioner that he starts to make headway in the investigation.

Voodoo queen Solange Cordray volunteers at the dementia centre where her mother lives. When she starts reading the mind of one of her patients, she learns that a secretive organization known as Krewe Charbonerrie may be behind the murder of the judge. And the second murder. And the third . . .

Money–or maybe greed–is the root of all evil. Some people will do anything for their greed for money. Casting Bones examines some of the lengths that people will go to in order to gain wealth.

This is the first book I’ve read by Don Bruns. I don’t know what city he lives in but he surely painted a picture of New Orleans that is vivid and accurate. I didn’t know much about voodoo before but I feel like I do now. The author did his research on voodoo, along with knowing the city life of New Orleans. His observation in human behavior and details are amazing. This combination of details along with his talented writing, combined with a suspenseful plot made this a really great read. I enjoyed this book from the beginning to the end. The suspense started on the first page and kept me interested through out.

There is something about the writing style that made the story flow so smoothly. The details of the city, the men on the police force, maybe the realness of the main character, Quentin Archer. I felt I knew him; his story could be the average cop’s life. I empathized with him for the loss of his wife. He is a honest man trying to uphold the law, but struggles with his family while searching for answers for his wife’s death. Relocating from Detroit under dire circumstances, to the New Orleans police force Quentin finds himself investigating the case of murdered Judge Lerner. When it seems the suspect is caught and the case could be closed, Solange Cordray, a third generational voodoo practitioner contacts Detective Quentin with information that may show a lot of well known city officials in a bad light. When two more judges are murdered, this really is cause for alarm. What is the killer trying to cover up? Why is Quentin’s boss and partner so set against the information that Solange has revealed to Quentin?

This book has a lot of suspense. Finding out why the judges are being murdered and by who; was Quentin’s wife death an accident? Who on the police force is working on the side, selling information? But, don’t worry. There’s not so much going on that you get lost. Along with the suspense the author adds in the attraction between Solange and Quentin. I like the attraction between the two and that they didn’t act on the attractive impulse. The ending left me with hopefulness that there will be a future book about the two.

The story wraps up nicely and ties all ends but the last chapter leaves me to believe that there will be more of Solange and Quentin working together. This is a full story and I like that the author didn’t water it down making the book much longer than it was. It is just the right length.

This is a great story presented in a masterful style that I highly recommend. This will be a treat for those that enjoy good suspense, with lively characters set in a city that is just as lively.

Body in the Box by E R Fallon


Body in the Box by E R Fallon
Publisher: Joffe Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (227 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

THE FRAIL BODY OF A YOUNG BOY IS FOUND DISCARDED IN AN OLD CARDBOARD BOX. EVEN IN A HARD-EDGED TOWN USED TO DEADLY CRIMES, THIS TOUCHES A NERVE.

New York Times bestselling author Da Chen has said E.R. Fallon writes the kind of stories that “. . . we stay up all night to finish.”

Who dumped the boy’s body in this desolate part of the city and why? And why is he missing his spleen?

BODY IN THE BOX is the first book in a gripping new mystery series featuring three very different homicide detectives.

Detectives Dino Cooper and Terry Jackson have been partners and friends for years. Now a new detective is drafted in to join them: Rebecca Everhart. They must quickly learn to work together on the biggest case of their careers, the disturbing discovery of the ‘Body in the Box’, as it’s known by the captivated media and the city’s worried citizens.

The case takes the three detectives deep inside the lives of Newark’s insular Eastern European immigrant community and the world of unlawful medical practices. It also brings back an eerie childhood memory of Dino’s, where a boy from his neighborhood vanished and was never seen again.

What appears to be a straightforward, modern-day murder case has more to do with the past than the present, and the detectives come to a genuinely unnerving — and life-threatening — conclusion.

There’s a young boy in a big cardboard box in the end of town where the homeless live. He’s dead, he has nothing to identify him with except his teeth. He also happens to be missing his spleen…

This is a police procedural that leads the detectives into a worm hole of the poor and indigent and Russian illegals. The boy they found was not currently missing. The homeless didn’t see anything or won’t talk about it if they did. They begin looking for a child who could have been injured enough to lose his spleen. What they find takes them to the Russians. It’s a good thing the new female detective can speak some Russian or they’d have had to find a translator. Again, no one wants to talk to them. When they find out who the child is, he’s been missing for two years. Where has he been?

The pace is steady, the mystery keeps twisting around and you keep turning the pages to see what new clue will show up. This case relates to an old unsolved one but no one will know that until the end.

The description of the Russians and how they lived and the places the homeless lived was depressing. It’s especially sad how the boy ended up where he did. Sometimes life is not kind.

Watching the police work, wondering about the killer, and rooting for the team of detectives came naturally. There are romantic problems just to keep your interest. The story already had mine.

Here’s an unusual mystery with even more unusual motive. If you like mysteries, you need to read this one.

Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands


Immortal Unchained by Lynsay Sands
An Argeneau Novel
Publisher: Avon Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (251 pgs)
Heat Level: Spicy
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Ever since Domitian Argenis recognized Sarita as his life mate, he’s been waiting for the perfect moment to claim her. Those fantasies did not include him being chained to a table in a secret lab or both of them being held hostage by a mad scientist. Somehow, they have to escape…

Sarita has seen some crazy things as a cop, but nothing to rival Domitian. A vampire? Seriously? But his healing ability, incredible powers, and their mind-blowing physical connection—none of it should be possible, yet her body knows differently. Now, not only do they have to save each other, but other innocent lives are at stake. Failure is not an option, for Sarita intends that Domitian show her exactly what an eternity of pleasure feels like…

I realize it’s a cliché when a reviewer says that the storyline grabbed them from the first page but that really happened to me. Right off the bat, the novel opens up with a dramatic prologue where Domitian is in a heated discussion with Lucian and it’s a shocking exchange. I had no idea so many Immortals had disappeared, especially people who I’ve ‘met’ in previous books; characters that I’ve come to adore and love it whenever they are on stage. To think that someone has the ability to overpower my favorite descendants from Atlantis boggled my mind. How? What powers do they have? Yes, those first few pages lay the groundwork for an amazing, mind blowing and stunning adventure that raises the bar in the Argeneau saga to new levels. Readers, buckle up. Immortal Unchained is a wild ride and is nothing you’ve seen before. Ms. Sands has a true winner on her hands and it’s stunning.

The first full chapter introduces Sarita, the heroine. It starts off so benign and innocuous. Don’t let it fool you. The heroine isn’t a helpless damsel; she is a cop and she has good instincts. Something doesn’t add up so being the good officer she is, she investigates. What follows propels the plot and story forward at a dizzying speed. Sarita is abruptly thrust into the world of the Immortals and their fight to survive in what turns out to be a hellish captivity. What the villain does to them is truly horrifying. Ms. Sands’ writing makes that very vivid and clear to a reader. The good news is that the disturbing, dark and insane goings on does not overwhelm a reader. Ms. Sands walks a fine line between horror and dramatic adventure while keeping the growing romance between Domitian and Sarita front and center. This novel has a hefty plot that is amazingly intense. The pace is furious and gripping; I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough because revelation after revelation left me astonished and dumbfounded. How could the villain do what he did for so long? The hero and heroine stumble upon their answer and once again the truth is jaw dropping. There is no way I could have guessed the true scope of what Domitian and Sarita are faced with. The big question, will they escape? How? There doesn’t seem to be any allies to help them and there’s no way to contact the outside world to send out a cry for help to Lucien and the rest of the Immortal Hunters. It looks so hopeless. Help comes but from a quarter that a reader can’t even guess or fathom. I remember sitting there, staring at the pages in astonishment. This book is awesome!!!

There are a lot of important new secondary characters, some of which I suspect will show up again in the future because they have a certain …edge which could really help the Immortals. They’re going to need all the help they can get because the final showdown closed this story arc but effectively opened up a new one. Yes, there is a solid and satisfying happy ever after that is as sexy and romantic as a reader could wish, and many loose ends are tied up but the biggest loose end is a new beginning. A new threat has emerged and I bet it’s going to be unpredictable, challenging and diabolical. Just you wait until you get to that part of the book then you’ll understand why the next book in the series can’t come fast enough. There are new characters to sympathize with and I want to know what happens to them. The world as they knew it is no more, so what’s going to happen now? Ms. Sands has made me care for these new characters and I expect them to be an asset to the series. Certainly these people help breathe new life into what is already an awesome and riveting succession of novels. I don’t know how Ms. Sands does it but she’s getting better and better and readers and fans reap the benefits.

Run, don’t walk, and grab your own copy of Immortal Unchained. This novel is going to find a welcome and permanent spot on my keeper shelf. It’s that marvelous.

Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton


Crimson Death by Laurell K. Hamilton
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Paranormal, Suspense/Mystery, Horror
Length: Full Length (708 pgs)
Other: BDSM, M/F, M/F/M, M/F/F, F/F, M/M, F/M/M, Multiple Partners, Menage
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

In her twenty-fifth adventure, vampire hunter and necromancer Anita Blake learns that evil is in the eye of the beholder…

Anita has never seen Damian, her vampire servant, in such a state. The rising sun doesn’t usher in the peaceful death that he desperately needs. Instead, he’s being bombarded with violent nightmares and blood sweats.

And now, with Damian at his most vulnerable, Anita needs him the most. The vampire who created him, who subjected him to centuries of torture, might be losing control, allowing rogue vampires to run wild and break one of their kind’s few strict taboos.

Some say love is a great motivator, but hatred gets the job done, too. And when Anita joins forces with her friend Edward to stop the carnage, Damian will be at their side, even if it means traveling back to the land where all his nightmares spring from…a place that couldn’t be less welcoming to a vampire, an assassin, and a necromancer.

Ireland.

Ever have a book that gripped you so hard that it sucked you right into the author’s world and your own faded away? That’s what Crimson Death did to me. I only did the bare minimum of household chores. I read late into the night until it flipped to morning, grabbed a few hours of sleep only to wake up a few hours later to devour a few more chapters before having to slog off to work to simply come home to read and read some more until almost midnight the next night. Yeah, so, it took me two days to read, but what an amazing two days it was.

I’ve been following this series for years. I’ve watched Anita view everything as black and white; a character was either good or bad, no quarter. Monsters were bad, humans could be bad too but they were human. As the series unfolds, the heroine realizes that she can no longer ignore the ‘gray’ areas; life is a LOT more complicated, and messy and as she grows, Anita realizes that gray areas not only exist, they’re huge. It opens her up to accepting and doing things she never, ever, in a million years would think or do. Following her has been an amazing journey and that journey continues in Crimson Death. Sure, there are original fans that prefer her early years when it was all about the mystery, the horror, the suspense, drama and how it affected her. I mean, first person point of view really gets into a character’s head and the author has the daunting job of staying there. Ms. Hamilton has done Anita for so long, it seems second nature – I’m always right there with Marshall Blake, even when the blood flows.

This huge novel is no different when it comes to exploring her growth, both in her personal life and in her power. Yes, there is large section that explores Anita’s power’s connection to sex within her small group of loves and lovers, but before anyone scoffs at all the sex, be aware that there are a few astounding and earth shattering revelations that ripple through the rest of the novel stemming from all that erotic sex, which includes just a smidgen of voyeurism and exhibitionism from one of mine and Anita’s favorite people. Another warning to die-hard fans – be prepared to sniffle or cry or just get serious goosebumps on what happens. The one huge tragedy that affected me the most ends up being a turning point in Anita’s life that will have ginormous ramifications for future books. I didn’t want it to happen. All I could say was ‘no! no! no!, but of course Ms. Hamilton excels at writing the hard scenes – scenes for which a reader ultimately comes to the sad but resigned conclusion that it served a valid, crucial and necessary purpose. I don’t have to like it but I recognize Ms. Hamilton is staying true to Anita’s journey.

A lot of my favorite recurring secondary/primary characters populate this novel. There is one new character that sheds some light on Edward/Ted. It was actually humorous at times, which I didn’t expect at all. I think Anita was just as bemused as I was. Thing is, she has the ability to pester him in future books to satisfy her curiosity. I’m looking forward to what she finds out.

Of course the main villain and cohorts are truly evil, nasty, horrific, sociopathic and creepy. However, not all the cohorts are there willingly and how the author dealt with them kept my heart pounding with dread. This is such a powerfully, well written book, I could not remain unaffected.

This isn’t truly a standalone read because some of the things that occur are at their most commanding and powerful if a reader is personally vested in caring for certain characters from previous stories. If a person were to just start with this book, there are mentions of past experiences that provide Anita with the power she currently has, and they might be shocked by how erotic and numerous the sex initially is, but the main mystery of trying to figure out who or what is making all these vampires and why, can carry this novel by itself. It also might capture new fans and they might be inspired to read the series from the beginning or at least a few of the books that were alluded to in this one.

I am a fan of Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, and I highly recommend this novel to fans that’ve followed her all this time. Crimson Death wowed me to the point that writing this review was a compulsion. I just HAD to tell you how marvelous and incredible Crimson Death was, and recommend it to readers with high praise and accolades.

Hidden Bloodlines by Karen Van Den Heuvel


Hidden Bloodlines by Karen Van Den Heuvel
J. C. Classified Series
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (296 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 3.5 stars
Reviewed by Camellia

Gutsy Colorado attorney Victoria Bailey has just successfully prosecuted a serial killer—or has she? Betrayed by her college sweetheart, she’s vowed to remain single and dependent on no one but herself. All goes according to plan until her best friend’s wedding rehearsal. A missing groom, a murdered trial assistant, and an unexpected encounter with two men from her past bring her well-controlled life crashing down.

Highly decorated, retired Navy SEAL Christian Van der Kruis has seen much death and is ready to experience a new life. Now part of a global special ops organization, he attends a wedding, never expecting to be brought face-to-face with death and the only woman he ever loved…Victoria.

Victoria, a successful lawyer, is unease about a case she won. Had she prosecuted the right man? She is determined to put business aside when she arrives at the legendary hotel and chapel where she is to be bridesmaid for her friend, Elizabeth. How her case and the wedding party get all mixed up together creates some nail-biting reading.

With all the evil doings going on, getting a wedding worked in seems almost impossible. However Karen Van Den Heuvel weaves together, old grudges held since the settling of Eutis Park, Colorado, a wedding party where the groom goes missing, a haunted hotel and its ties to a building in Denver that Elizabeth bought; the revisiting of an old love gone awry, the blooming of a new love; demonopathy, exorcism, and more. She keeps the reader on edge with strange noises, rooms with secret doors, old hidden tunnels occupied by evil doers, a possessed little boy, a strange acting new law partner, and a freak storm in March.

Victoria’s encounter with David, the man who, without warning, dumped her to become a priest brings back old memories and hurts that shaped her life the past few years. However when she encounters his brother Christian, an ex-Navy SEAL, who now has a search and rescue business, she sees and responds to him differently than she did in college. This is, indeed, a ray of sunshine in a dark, stormy story.

While I felt like I’d come in at the middle of a movie, I was glued to the story, reading like mad so as not to miss important information. I’m not sure I ever got all the characters straight. However, the story is so compelling, I just had to keep reading to see how all things worked out.

Karen Van Den Heuvel has a unique writing style. She does a masterful job of tying up loose ends and finally slips in more than one happy-ever-after that I always love to see.

Shattering Glass by Conner Coyne


Shattering Glass by Conner Coyne
Publisher: Gothic Funk Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (328 pgs)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4.5 stars
Reviewed by Stargazer

Just when the whole world has written off the city of Arkaic, Michigan, billionaire A. Olan puts up funds for a new university in an abandoned psychiatric hospital. There, strange engines turn human memories into electrical power. Join students Samo, Monty, Ezzie, and Dunya as they study, work, flirt, explore, and battle powers of ancient evil. Will they survive their first year of college?

Get ready for a mind-bending adventure!

Shattering Glass by Conner Coyne is one of the most unique reads that a person can read and still grasp the underlying story. The primary focus of the story is four students from various walks of life who begin their first undergraduate years at Arkaic University in the struggling town of Arkaic Michigan. The university is essentially a previously decommissioned asylum, which leads to some unique and fascinating descriptions of architecture that still haunt the school.

The author takes the point of view of the various students and a couple of secondary characters to tell the tale in depth. Fascinating and strange events begin even on the first day of registration and the students will often shrug off or accept these strange events. At first, I was almost put off by the blatant strangeness, but recalling my own undergraduate years, I can see how perception is often held to be determined by the person doing the viewing.

The lives and interactions of Samo (ironically whose name changes after his roommate decides that Samo is more relevant), Ezzie, Monty and Dunya are fun and adventurous-nearly as strange and unique as their own names. Their reactions to things that happen, their perseverance and the constant strange events lead to a fascinating take of the college world and college experiences. The dialogue is structured and strong and the descriptions of strange events makes the reader feel deeply entwined within the story itself.

I must admit, that midway through the story I felt lost and I struggled to find the core root of what was happening, and I feel that this was actually an intentional twist with the way the author interacts with the readers to pull them deeper into the plot. Almost like making it through mid-term the story then picks up in believability and straps the reader back in for another roller coaster ride.

As the story moves along, the reader grasps what is in essence, one of the most colorful and unique stories written, with events that seems so strange and complex, that they could never happen. Upon finishing the book, the author explains the rational for the layout, the various events and the inspiration for the story itself. Suddenly, the events and experiences that the four students have do not seem so obscure. Then, when one takes into consideration previous academic and undergraduate years-the entire story base seems nearly plausible.

If you want to take a break from everyday life and re-experience the first year jubilation, confusion and near insanity that a freshman at a four year university experiences, this is the book to bring those feelings to life!