Cupid Mislaid by P G Barker

Cupid Mislaid by P G Barker
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (285 pgs)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Carolyn Cotter, talented big-city ad executive, confuses the house number of her destination with that of a famous music mogul on the same street. Suddenly she finds herself embroiled in a police investigation regarding a missing platinum statue.

Simon Bergman, an accountant for the music mogul, is pleasantly surprised to meet such a charming young woman at his boss’s party. He is less pleasantly surprised when she dashes off without a farewell. Finding her again, he becomes her ally in seeking out the real culprit.

Will what they learn about themselves and about life land them in jail, or in love?

Could you mistake a farewell party for a funeral? Depends on the circumstances doesn’t it?

This is a story of people and their jobs and the ups and downs of everyday life. This is also a story about the way we all know people can act when we need them; some let us down and some support us. Sort of like life. This was a good read that really had its twists and turns and sure surprised me.

I liked this author’s characters, the closest ones were really fleshed out. I often define this kind of character development as a good “picture”. It’s important to me to have a sense of their personalities and maybe even an idea of what a few of them look like, in my mind at least. I did feel as if a few “scenes” were somewhat repetitive in this book. It seemed to bog down a little in the middle but the author’s style was clean and there was a clarity in the storyline I enjoyed. The book did keep my interest and seemed to pick up quickly.

There was a little humor in this book. The kind I always enjoy, that somewhat sarcastic making fun of oneself in a narrative sort of way. The author did it here utilizing the main character, Carolyn, and did it very well. This was a fun book to read.

Shrouded Memory by Krista Wagner

Shrouded Memory by Krista Wagner
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (249 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

What You Don’t Remember Can Hurt You

After surviving a shark attack, Marine Biologist Rian Field becomes haunted by disturbing memories of a past traumatic incident and begins to suspect that the assailants may be those closest to her. But more chilling is her fear that they are somehow connected to the shark attack and want her dead. Rian must overcome her fear of sharks and uncover the truth before the past drags her into its shadows.

Can a large whale be dangerous in an estuary?

Estuaries are places where the salt water meets the fresh water. A place that holds all sorts of weird species. Why would Rian Field get her PhD in Marine Estuarine & Aquatic Life Studies in a place like this? She was even a little afraid of water. For that matter, why would she want to see and study the Great White shark? But…many of us have seen the movie Jaws and thoughts of such a movie have stayed with us for years. Rian Field had been fascinated with sharks ever since she saw the movie.

Just like I seem to know Rian and her thoughts, the author also did a good job with development of many of the characters. While I enjoyed reading this book, it does have a lot of flashbacks in the form of dreams, “bad guy thoughts” and memories. Sometimes that can be hard to follow or throw off the flow of reading. It was handled pretty well by this author. One thing that helped ease the flow of reading was that dreams, thoughts of the “bad guy” and regular prose were all done in different fonts. This made Shrouded Memory much easier to read than many books of its type.

This is a book full of relationships, good friends, and intrigue. I read it very quickly but not because it was easy. It was because I didn’t want to put it down.

Too Beautiful for Words by Ronald M. James

Too Beautiful for Words by Ronald M. James
Publisher: James Milward
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Full length (388 pgs)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Private Investigator, Sammy Shovel, finally gets the client of a lifetime and rushes to claim his jackpot, but he soon discovers—wealth and pearl coincide.

Beloved Golden Opportunities, founder and CEO, Joel Ceja, is found murdered one foggy morning.

Three months after Joel’s death the police are stumped, they still have no clues in the case. Golden Opportunities’ employees feel they’re being stonewalled and decide to hire detective Sammy Shovel to assist the police. Meeting the Golden executive congregate, Sammy learns real wealth has money trees to burn, but they want results. His shabby clothes are no concern for they think it’s part of a disguise for another case, not knowing he’s bordering on destitution.

Sammy accepts the case, figuring it was nothing more than a local homicide.

However, in no time at all, he’s mired in international quicksand filled with a worldwide assassination ring, and wants out of the contract.

Sammy learns that gold teeth, with the inscription R & M, are major facts in the case.

But greed overcomes his common sense, and is embroiled in a well-organized gang of hit men. He runs from firefight to firefight to get to the truth, but his adversaries dupe him time and again with lies and trickery.

In Mazatlan Sammy discovers the truth about the initials R&M, they’re tied to a band of Seventeenth Century assigns, who would murder each other with any hint of betrayal.

You may deceive Sammy—some of time. But when he put’s it altogether—run bother, run for we all know Sammy’s a shoot first and ask questions later kind of guy.

Sammy Shovel sure isn’t your everyday P.I.

If you enjoy a good gumshoe turned P.I. book, this is one for you. The characters were well-developed but none as well as Sammy Shovel, P.I. Is that the perfect name for a stumbling, bumbling, smart as a tack P.I. or not?

This is a 2nd edition by a different publisher, James Milward. The author, Ronald James, was born during the time of the Depression. However, this book is set in today’s era. The plot is conceivable and there is a lot of interplay between Sammy and the local cops, some friendly and of course…some not. There are definitely enough twists and turns to keep you guessing. Still, the storyline in this book is constructed well enough to never lose you in those twists and turns. No turning back a few pages to see “who was who” in this book. Most of this book is written in first person narrative. It is Sammy’s view of himself and his sarcastic and somewhat naïve mind that makes this book fun to read.

I must say if typos or grammar errors bother you, be advised this book needs some editing. I must also tell you that they drive me nuts and I would normally put a book down immediately. I couldn’t put this book down. Had to finish it. And that says volumes about the story.

Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent

Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent
Publisher: Camel Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (258 pgs)
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

When Nora Alexander arrives in Piney Woods, Texas, to fulfill her dying mother’s last wish, she has no idea what awaits her. First she is run off the road, then the sealed letter she delivers turns out to be a scathing rebuke to the town’s most beloved citizen and favored candidate for Piney Woods Pioneer: Adam Brockwell. Next thing you know, Adam has been murdered in a nasty knife attack. Suspicion instantly falls on Nora, one of the last people to see him alive. After all, everyone in Piney Woods loved him. Or did they? Nora learns that her mother had a complicated past she never shared with her daughter.

Told not to leave town by Tuck the flirty sheriff, Nora finds a job with Tuck’s Aunt Marty trying to get the rundown Tunie Hotel back in the black. The old hotel was Piney Woods’ heart and soul in its heyday as an oil boomtown. Now the secrets it harbors may be the key to getting Nora off the hook. She’s going to need to solve the mystery quickly to avoid arrest, or worse: becoming the killer’s next victim.

Good books have a rhythm and this one never lost a beat.

Books really do have a rhythm. There are those which seem to stop and start and those which flow as smoothly as a waltz. There is nothing more enjoyable than to read a book with no “hiccups” in the rhythm. Well, this first book in the Piney Woods Mystery Series was a waltz. I enjoyed every moment of it and the author truly never missed a step.

This small town setting with a nice mix of warm people has a lot in common with many other small towns trying to stay alive in today’s world. The story has a few characters that are immediately likeable and each has their own distinct personality. A lawman of course, gossipy old ladies, a sweet old couple nagging at each other lovingly and a smart lady trying to rebuild a life and a business. Well, you know, all the characters that make a good book. Don’t fret though, the story has its own set of dastardly characters too.

I guess this could be defined as a cozy. It did make me curl up and read. It was one of those books you can’t wait to finish but are sad when you actually do because it’s over. I hope there is a follow-up.

Murder Beach by Rena Leith

Murder Beach by Rena Leith
Publisher: Wild Rose Press
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Full Length (341 pgs)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

Her husband’s infidelity turns Cass Peake’s world upside down. Hoping to start fresh, she moves to a sleepy little town called Las Lunas on the northern California coast. The cute seaside bungalow is surprisingly affordable and Cass snaps it up. She soon discovers why the place was so cheap; it’s haunted! And the beach by her new home is called Murder Beach by locals. She can’t even get a pizza delivered.

Back in the Roaring Twenties, the bodies of Doris Pierpont, a notorious bootlegger’s daughter, and her lover were discovered on the beach. Summoned by a séance in the Swinging Sixties, Doris returned to the house. Now she wants to know who murdered her.

As Cass tries to make a new life and solve Doris’s murder, the corpse of the local bookstore owner is found in the sand. Is Murder Beach living up to its name once again?

Can a book about a haunted house and a witch be funny?

If you told me I would enjoy a mystery that contained a witch, I’d think you had never met me. But…I did enjoy Murder Beach and its witch. The dialog was humorous which always entertains me. The setting of this book is in a little town with an old house on a beach that needs fixing up. Wow, I wanted to be there with my tools. Well…maybe I wanted to be there sitting on the beach. Nonetheless, the picture painted by the author wanted me to get involved.

Let’s talk a minute about the good and the not so good in this book. There was a little dialog about vampires that ran through this book. It is not my thing but it didn’t turn me off. That in itself means it had to be a fairly good read. This book moved a little slowly and it might be because some of the same actions went on a lot but it never made me want to put the book down. The principal characters were readable but not really fleshed out enough to “know” them. It was the dialog and the humor that I enjoyed most of all.

It’s a quick fun read, kind of sweet, not deeply involved, and I’m glad I spent the time reading it.

The Dead Mothers Club by Mary Henning

The Dead Mothers Club by Mary Henning
Publisher: Blue Turtle Press
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Young Adult
Length: Full Length (282)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

What could drive Erin Wei, an Advanced Placement student and the only child of her widowed father, to suicide? This is the question plaguing her four closest, and in fact, only, friends; Jenny Long, Tony Armeni, Raejean Carlton and Mark Reynolds.

Before swallowing her father’s tranquilizers, Erin carefully wrapped and labeled several of her possessions and left them to her friends. Among them was her private journal, In its pages, they will discover a crime that will rock her remaining family, the church, and the sleepy town of Pine Valley to its roots, and be faced with decisions that will affect each of them for the rest of their lives.

Good kids with real life troubles in a mystery? But it works.

This is a really great book. I rarely ever give something 5 stars and yet this author’s story and her character development all deserve a 5.

Since this book has much dialogue by teens, I really thought it was going to be a YA (Young Adult) classification. But the truth is I can’t think of any age that wouldn’t enjoy reading it as both a mystery and a story about everyday problems. I’m calling the problems in this book “every day” but only because I unfortunately think that although many are hidden, these problems do exist in everyday life. They are not always something we want to think about but they do exist. I personally got a lot out of reading it…enjoyment, a few laughs, a few tears, a few ideas, some good feelings about people, and some anger at others.

Even though this book jumps from character to character, I never lost track of who was who. It never seemed like the book was jumping around. Since I really hate reading and wondering “now who is this?” I think it takes a very talented author to craft a book this way and never once frustrate me. She taught me each characters’ personality so well it was almost as if I knew them. Characters in a book are very important to me. In fact, they have a lot to do with how much I enjoy a book.

To sum this book up…not a long read, in fact a really easy read. But very involved. Well worth your time.