Silent City by Carrie Smith

Silent City by Carrie Smith
A Claire Codella Mystery
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (326 pgs)
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

NYPD Detective Claire Codella has just won a tough battle with cancer. Now she has to regain her rightful place on the force. she hasn’t even been back a day when Hector Sanchez, a maverick public school principal, is found murdered. The school is on high alert. The media is howling for answers. And Codella catches the high-profile case at the worst possible time.

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Claire is just returning to work after a long battle with cancer. The cancer almost won. She’s looking forward to coming back to her desk and settling back into the routine of the job. But she gets a phone call instead. She’s thrown right into the middle of a new murder case.

Ms. Smith does a very good job of character building. Claire was a very competent cop who solved a very big case right before the cancer hit. Her boss doesn’t like her because it got her promoted and he was made to look like a fool. He’s got in for her.

He sends her to help a new officer in homicide. The officer is gay and it doesn’t take long for the other boys to find out. They call him the Rainbow Dick. He’s a good cop, will do as he’s told, and he’s on Claire’s side. She might be the token female but he’s also the token gay cop.

The more they interview people, the less they know. This is a complicated plot with lots of players. The author weaves the story, picks up another thread and weaves in and I ended up with no idea who the killer was. At the end I was beginning to suspect one of them but the other one flabbergasted me. What some people will do for money amazes me.

The story flows well, the mix of people is amazing, and greed and lust walk among them. Ms. Smith makes the story believable even if it’s unpredictable. You’ll meet a lot of unethical people in this book. The sad truth is there are a lot of them in the world nowadays. At least the author gives them their comeuppance in this story. If only you could do that in real life.

Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron

Plantation Shudders by Ellen Byron
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full Length (276 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Check in for some Southern hospitality in Plantation Shudders, the Cajun Country series debut from Ellen Byron.

It’s the end of the summer and Prodigal Daughter Maggie Crozat has returned home to her family’s plantation-turned-bed-and-breakfast in Louisiana. The Crozats have an inn full of guests for the local food festival–elderly honeymooners, the Cajun Cuties, a mysterious stranger from Texas, a couple of hipster lovebirds, and a trio of Georgia frat boys. But when the elderly couple keels over dead within minutes of each other–one from very unnatural causes– Maggie and the others suddenly become suspects in a murder.

With the help of Bo Durand, the town’s handsome new detective, Maggie must investigate to clear her name while holding the family business together at the same time. And the deeper she digs, the more she wonders: are all of the guests really there for a vacation or do they have ulterior motives? Decades-old secrets and stunning revelations abound in Ellen Byron’s charming cozy debut, Plantation Shudders.

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First, the mystery works. I didn’t figure out the “whodunit” until the author wanted me to. I liked the fact that so many of the guests had secrets that Maggie ferreted out, but I never clued in as to which one was going to be the ‘tell’. I enjoyed all hoops the heroine had to jump through in order to investigate on her own. Another aspect of her sleuthing is her eventual trust in Bo. I was thrilled when he not only didn’t stop her from doing her own investigating, nor did he try to dissuade her, but instead treated her as a valuable informal partner. I enjoyed watching that trust grow.

The strongest element in the novel is Maggie and her family’s relationship. The author is able to bring a reader into the Crozat family home where they’re treated to some very down to earth daily activities. They may seem normal and routine but that’s part of the book’s charm. It’s that welcoming atmosphere that brings the guests to the B & B, and gets a reader to care about the Crozat family and creates a drive to continue reading until the amazing conclusion when all is revealed. I think the moving log is a great scene.

One thing I noticed was the importance of food and local dishes to the atmosphere of the book. Imagine my delight when I found recipes after the epilogue. There is one that I am surely going to try. It sounds delicious!!

My favorite parts of the story are whenever Maggie and Xander are together. I appreciated how the author handled that subject and I thought their final scenes together to be the sweetest things ever. It highlighted more than anything else in the story, just how wonderful a person Maggie really is. It’s that kind of insight that helped her solve the mystery, and it will surely be an asset when a future relationship develops with Bo. At least, I hope that’s what will happen. It sure was a nice touch in Plantation Shudders.

Cozy mystery fans need to give Plantation Shudders a try. It’s a fascinating read and I enjoyed watching Maggie try to solve the crimes. She’s a regular lady with a strong sense of family and history. Her character has a gentle strength which appealed to me. I also got a kick out of the wrap up epilogue which documented how the aftermath of the solving of the mystery affected the town and some of its residents. It was totally grin worthy.

Plantation Shudders is a great read and it gets a hearty recommend from me. Ms. Byron has a winner.

Dark Waters by Chris Goff

Dark Waters by Chris Goff
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (344 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Raisa “Rae” Jordan, an agent for the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, isn’t in Israel for more than a day before her predecessor is gunned down in a Tel Aviv square by a sniper. Assigned to investigate the assassination of one of her own, she must also protect Judge Ben Taylor and his teenage daughter. They may be the sniper’s next target and are most certainly being threatened by a desperate cadre of terrorists with their sights set on the Secretary of State’s upcoming visit. But is an attack on the Secretary of State all that they have planned or is that just the beginning?

There are no protocols for this kind of a situation, and following the rules is exactly the kind of thing that could get the Taylors killed. To subvert an attack that could crush the fledgling peace in the Middle East, Jordan must trust her instincts and bring together a contentious team of agents from Israel, the U.S., and the Palestinian territories to uncover a conspiracy years in the making.

In such cases the friends or partner plays a very vital role in keeping our bodies healthy and optimum while incorporating a healthy diet including vitamins and supplements, Canada could live a long online pharmacy levitra click to find out life. Opposing accepted belief, impotence erectile dysfunction never happens to be an ‘all cialis viagra australia or none’ occurrence. Training of personnel The MICU or ICU ambulance are staffed by highly trained paramedics, doctors and nurses who have been specially discount cialis canada trained to deal with emergency and life – threatening situations. Leave extra 10% for other factors such as age and underlying medical issues were considered. generic cialis australia With millions of lives hanging in the balance, Dark Waters, Chris Goff’s explosive thriller, is a series debut that mirrors global headlines and will have you frantically turning pages.

If you like a rollercoaster ride of a read, then Dark Waters will definitely be a book you’ll enjoy.

The author did a great job diving into the action and setting up what would be a fast paced plot with twists and turns that had me reading for long stretches, and turning the pages to see if my theory about what would happen next was right.

I liked the main character Raisa. She was tough, strong, and someone to cheer on. I also liked the other main character Ben, who seemed to be caught up in something larger than life while trying to save his daughter’s life.

All the characters seemed to come to life off the page and the dialogue was realistic. I especially liked the setting; the author did a first rate job describing the sounds and customs of Tel Aviv and surrounding area. It made me feel like I was there, right in the region and in the middle of the danger.

This might seem like a long read but I think you’ll find yourself getting caught up in all the action that you’ll be at the end before you realize it.

If you’re looking for a book to finish out your summer reading fix, this is one I highly recommend.

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes by Denise Grover Swank
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Action/Adventure, Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (277 pgs)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Aloe

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She’s had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn’t enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she’s wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen– do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he’s got plenty secrets of his own.
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Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they’ll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.

Rose Gardner has visions. She’s been punished by her mother, derided by friends and most people think she’s weird. So she doesn’t talk about them anymore. However, when the next customer at DMV sits down and she looks at him, she sees herself in a vision. She’s on the couch at home and she’s dead…

Ms. Swank starts the book with a great first sentence: “It all started when I saw myself dead.” She had my attention and she kept it until the end of the book. This is a great read. Rose is naïve, has never been kissed even though she’s twenty-four, and her mother still tells her what to do. She thinks about moving out but she doesn’t know where, nor can she leave her mother alone. Rose will grow up a lot before the end of this story.

The man she met at DMV is a bad man. He thinks she has something he wants and no matter how many times she says she doesn’t, he doesn’t believe her. When she finds her mother dead on the couch, she freaks because it should have been her. If she hadn’t gotten mad and went to the library, she would have been home during the attack.

There’s great interaction between family members and Rose has a crush on her new neighbor. But can she trust him?

Ms. Swank twists her tale around and keeps you on your toes trying to keep up. Rose and her family are in danger, the action happens fast, and the matter needs to be resolved in a week or she’ll really be dead this time. The suspense and the danger add to the story line as well as the budding romance with Joe. I turned the pages fast when reading this one and sat and read the whole thing in one sitting. I didn’t want to wait and see what happened; I wanted to know now!

The author did an excellent job on this story and I’m ready to get the next book now. Rose is a great character and I want to know her better.