A Murder in May by C. L. Shore

A Murder in May by C. L. Shore
Publisher: Wings ePress
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full length (352 pages)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Snowdrop

When she learns about the murder of her childhood best friend, a nun join forces with a detective to find the killer. Their teamwork leads to progress on the case, but the killer proves elusive. Detective Jed McCracken sets a trap, and Sister Lucie becomes the bait. Will Sister Lucie outwit the murderer…or become the next victim?

A nun and a detective. Quite a combination.

This is almost what I’d call Crime Fiction since it involves a Detective using a nun to help him and the police with a case. A wife new to the convent having lost her husband in the line of duty teams up with her husband’s former partner. Makes for an interesting read.

My first thought about this book was that it seemed long. It is 352 pages and it did take me a little longer to read than other books. Could I say that there were a few “scenes” in this novel that could have been cut? Maybe so. On the other hand, I cannot say I was ever bored. In fact I was surprised that I was always eager to get back to it. There are not a lot of characters which makes it seem to me that the three that were in the spotlight could have been a little more developed. But they were each enjoyable and there was a lot of good dialog. It usually seems implausible that the police would work with a nun and a young lady working in a hotel but somehow this came across okay. I think this worked because it was well-written.

Since the characters were so likable, it seems that if they were fleshed out a little more, this would make a good series. Let’s hope we see book two.

Death of a Gossip by M. C. Beaton

Death of a Gossip by M. C. Beaton
Publisher: Warner Books
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (179 pgs)
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Cholla

When society widow and gossip columnist Lady Jane Winters joined the fishing class, she wasted no time in ruffling the feathers-or was it the fins?-of those around her. Among the victims of her sharp tongue and unladylike manner was Lochdubh Constable Hamish Macbeth. Yet not even Hamish thought someone would permanently silence Lady Jane’s shrills-until her strangled body is fished out of the river. Now with the help of the lovely Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, Hamish must angle through the choppy waters of the tattler’s life to find the murderer. But with a school of suspects who aren’t ready to talk and dead women telling no tales, Hamish may be in over his head, for he knows that secrets are dangerous, knowledge is power, and killers usually do strike again.

Deep in the Scottish Highlands is a quaint little village called Lochdubh. Now that fishing season has opened, there are new recruits to the fishing school run by John and Heather Cartwright. When one of their students turns up murdered, the mystery falls to Constable Macbeth to solve. Is one backwoods constable equipped to solve a murder?

I find it highly amusing that, from the very beginning you know exactly who is going to get murdered. Why? Because she was the most annoying character I’ve ever encountered and I very well may have stopped reading if she’d survived. Lady Jane Winters, a nasty gossip columnist, doesn’t seem to have a decent bone in her body, letting everyone’s secrets slip in the most public of ways. I’m actually rather surprised that it took someone as long as it did to kill her. She made no friends during her visit to the fishing school.

Hamish Macbeth is hands down the best thing about this entire story. He’s quirky, he’s funny, and he absolutely aggravates every last person in Lochdubh. Even better is that he doesn’t care. He simply carries on with his day and mooches as many cups of coffee and free meals as he can. The tactics he employs are outlandish and suspect, but in the end, he gets the job done, all while aggravating Chief Inspector Blair, sent down from the larger city of Strathbane.

Cozy mysteries are quickly becoming a favorite go-to on my bookshelf. Death of a Gossip wasn’t the most gripping mystery, but it certainly was the funniest. I don’t know about you, but there is definitely a place for a laugh-out-loud mystery in my life. Jam packed with odd and sometimes annoying characters, Death of a Gossip is a quick and easy read that will bring you more than a taste of mystery.

Doomed Voyage by Bill Russell

Doomed Voyage by Bill Russell
Publisher: Class Act Books
Genre: Historical, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (324 Pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Cyclamen

Adrift on the vast Pacific in a small boat with only a dim prospect of rescue, private investigator Toby Grant questions his wisdom in taking on such a whacky assignment. It sounded so easy coming from his natty little client. All he had to do was transport a bunch of supposedly phony diamonds across the ocean to Hong Kong as a decoy for the real shipment. In his mind, it was a chance for a free cruise and there was even a buck to be made. Who cared about the danger? Even Pam, his new wife cottoned to the idea. Turned out she was as big a thrill seeker as he. Now they are on an endless ocean in a leaking lifeboat, miles off the normal sea-lanes. Can things possibly get any worse?

Toby Grant gets hired to transport fake diamonds to Hong Kong, and he decides that the trip would make a wonderful vacation for him and his wife, Pam, a honeymoon, since they’d only been married for a few weeks. They would sail on the Pacific Empress which was best described as “a freighter that carried a few passengers.” She’d “started life as the S.S. Jacob Stearling, a ship built in 1942 and a veteran of both the North Atlantic run and the Normandy invasion.” Toby and Pam knew they weren’t going to have a luxury cruise, but still, it was a chance to see a bit of the world and make some money as well. Or so they thought.

Doomed Voyage is an action-packed story set in the years immediately following World War II. As the novel’s blub says, they end up trying to survive in a leaking lifeboat miles from the regular shipping lanes, but before they reach that desperate point, lots of things have happened. The ship has a crew of twenty and there are sixteen other passengers whom Toby and Pam have to investigate. I found that there were a lot of characters to keep straight, but the author used the dinner table assignments to introduce characters in smaller groups. Toby and Pam have dinner with a different pair each night, which allows the reader to get to know the supporting characters more slowly.

I really liked Toby and Pam and they seemed very real. The other passengers come from a cross-section of personality types and they are well-drawn. There are some who are easy to like and others who are asking to be kicked. The tension builds relentlessly as the ship leaves San Francisco and heads towards Hawaii.

The setting was well constructed. The era of the late forties was nicely captured and the atmosphere aboard the freighter seemed very realistic. The chief villain was relatively easy to spot, but many of the sub-plots were intricate and fascinating. The interaction between various characters was handled very deftly and I truly felt as if I was right there with Toby and Pam as the sharks, human and non-human, circled.

If you are looking for an historical mystery with lots of interesting characters and a complex plot, this might just be what you are looking for.

Excerpt (PG13): Would you like to be rescued by an angel?

Action, action, action! Angels and demons and lasers, oh, my.

Check out my sexy Paranormal/Sci-Fi Romantic Adventure, Vigilant. Where do the mortals fit in the war between the angels and demons?

Reviews I made my mother memorize:
* 5 out of 5 Tea Cups from Happily Ever After Reviews: “Whether or not you’re a sci-fi fan, you’ll enjoy this stirring romantic adventure.”
* 5 out of 5 Stars from Book Binge: “Wow! What a cast of characters!…It will be a rare person indeed who does not find this story to be awesome and one of the Grade A, Top-of-the-Mark books no one should miss.”
* Beyond 5 stars! from A Journey of Romance: “I declare Vigilant to be another hit in her series. Vigilant is beyond 5 Stars!”
[This excerpt is rated PG-13 for action. The story is rated R.]
Hotel Escape

“What if I kissed you before a room of crooks and criminals?”
Goose bumps raced over Yadira’s flesh at contemplation of Weber’s passionate kiss anywhere, in front of anyone, at any time.
She just didn’t know why he would want to kiss her behind closed doors, as blackened with grievous offense as she was. She wished his sister hadn’t told her he could see guilt. She would’ve wept over the state of her soul, if he hadn’t been in the room.
But Weber was in the room, giving her flights of delight with his enticements and innuendo. She was supernaturally aware of his presence, closeness, and possible actions. His hands kneading hers slowed and stroked each finger, stealing a part of her mind.
“I’m available to fill your needs for the case, Marshal.” Her heart pounded in her chest. “If it keeps me from prison.”

He smiled, pleased with her answer, his olive-green eyes alight in the sexiest way. Could his vision carry the power to blank her thoughts and still her actions? Perhaps it was a gift of the unusual gene the I-Marshals carried that made them special. It was a preposterous thought, but she began to think he was something extra-human. Wasn’t a law enforcement officer who saw guilt more than just a cop?

Were delusions of an angel prowling her subconscious messing with her mind?
She wondered how long Weber’s testimony of their being lovers would stay a lie. A firestorm of attraction raged through them. They sat together on a bed now, his hands intimately massaging hers and relaunching all the heat he commanded. He’d kissed her moments ago, programming her to respond to him. Her thighs were on fire. He stared at her lips now as though they were edible, sending her subliminal hints that he would kiss her a second time. The thought of his mouth on hers again… With this much warning, she had time to lose her breath, anticipate the softness of his lips, want him more with every passing second.
“Yes, Yadira?”
“Have you sent an angel to watch over me?”
A loud bang rocked the room, startling them and breaking the electricity burning the air between them. Her question forgotten, they spun toward the hotel room door to see it had taken a strike to its metal so hard, it dented. She froze in fear.
“Oh, yeah, the Alliance,”the I-Marshal muttered under a sunken brow as though having forgotten some vital information to add to the night. He scrambled from the bed.
A second strike slammed into the security door with great force, denting its surface again. The lock was not yet compromised.
“Move, Yadira! They’ll be through the door in seven more strikes!”
Snapping herself from a terror-induced stasis, she burst from the bed, ran to and fro, looping the bag of clothes around her neck.
“Weber! Did you kill my guard?”
“No. I only kill the guilty. Your guard probably awakened in the room next door about five minutes ago.”
He grabbed her hand and tugged her into the shower room. There, he unlatched the small, highly placed window. It was the room’s only outlet for fire escape. Hotel guests were not prisoners.
Except for Yadira. She actually was a prisoner.
“Who’s coming through that door, Weber? And why?”
The window did not open all the way, so he ripped it from the metal frame, and he pulled in a knotted rope already hung outside for their escape.
“Probably, an Alliance SWAT team…or two, maybe some fed guys, a few overexcited locals. They’ll blow the door in a few seconds. The I-Marshals have taken me off the investigation, Yadira, and I’ve decided if they won’t release you from the case, I’m going to hide you from the Alliance. They aren’t happy with my plan.”
Yadira’s head snapped back to the sight and sound of new dents driven loudly into the room’s door. The noise of hovercraft blades warping the air blasted through the window.
He propped the room’s chair against the wall, assisting her climb to the high window.
“We’re on the fifth floor!”
“All you have to do is get out of this room. Take hold of the rope hanging out the window.”
Displeased with her catatonic speed, he snatched her up and put her atop the windowsill, feet first through the open window. She was about to scream bloody murder when she felt a knotted rope between her legs. She grasped it for dear life and leaned out of the building to assess their position.
The chaos was much louder outside the metal-plated room. Sirens shrieked, flashing lights blinded her. She saw the hovercrafts that belonged to the warp of blades she’d heard pivoting all around the hotel, their spotlights aimed on her and watching. How did they all get there so fast?
She turned to Weber behind her in the shower room, and snapped, “Aren’t I already under arrest?”
“Just climb onto the rope, Yadira, trust me.”
It was difficult to trust him when police on PA systems blasted, “Imperial Marshal Weber and Yadira Maxwell! Hold your position! You are surrounded! Do not attempt to escape!”
Trust him? The alternative was surrender.
Looking up the rope secured to the tube railing of the building, and seeing a variety of police uniforms aiming weapons at her, Yadira grasped the rope, put her feet on a knot, and wiggled off the window ledge, clinging to the rope and shaking. The red-and-blue flashing lights blinded her. The hard breeze set off by the hovercrafts whipped her hair across her face, stinging her. The sights and sounds of every law enforcement machine focused on her exit shocked her. She hadn’t known she was this important to the Alliance.
Or maybe capturing a rogue cop was this important. She guessed it was.
Weber climbed out of the window and onto the rope above her, and then he shimmied down to and around her, protecting her from crazy hails of rubber bullets or stunner rays. Cops with Tasers waited below the rope to take custody of them. Cops with stunners awaited atop the building. Cops in hovercrafts surrounding them, weapons sighting them, awaited any dangerous move. She’d never seen so many uniforms in all her life put together.
They’d never let her out of prison for this!
His big boots planted on a big knot in the rope below hers. “Turn on the rope and wrap your arms around me, Yadira!”
She looked around the hurricane they withstood, terrified. Emergency crews assembled below. Spectators were shooed away from witnessing their deaths or horrible mutilations when they hit the ground. Did the cops plan to plant a laser beam in the rope, melting the braid and causing their fall?
“What’s happening, Marshal? Why is all of Reigna’s force sighting us?”
“Ignore them.”
Her mouth dropped.“Ignore them?”
“I should have punched your guard harder. Put your arms around me!”
Surely, they’d fall!
“Trust me!”
She wrapped one arm around his neck, and let go of the rope with her other hand, hooking her arm beneath his to reach her other hand and locking them together. He trapped her against him with the rope, one hand gripping the lifeline above her. Sure she’d next tumble to her death or find herself behind bars, she watched Weber retrieve his palm comp with his free hand and type some numbers with his thumb.
Then Weber let go his grip of the rope, and she experienced the terrifying sensation of falling. It felt like they fell for minutes instead of the second it would have required for them to hit the pavement like melons.
Read more.
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Vigilant by Michele Hart
ISBN#: e-Book 1-61034-396-4 * Print 1-61034-682-3

Available @ BookStrand, Amazon, B&N,
everywhere exciting adventures await you.

InvestigateI-Marshal Stories.
Peace on Earth, Hell in Space.

Read and live an adventure.

Have an action-packed weekend,

Michele Hart
Paranormal/Sci-Fi Romance Author
~ Walk Another World ~ http://www.ILoveShape-Shifters.com/

Ghosts, Time Travel, Fantasy & Romance eBook Giveaway

“Know that love is truly timeless.” Author  Mary M. Ricksen
***For a chance  to win the eBook of one of these featured selections, leave me a comment.
The idea behind my ‘Somewhere series’ is that the story opens in an old home, so far Virginia, and then transports the reader back in time either in the same old house or another place entirely, such as the Scottish Highlands.   As is the case in Somewhere My Lass and the sequel I’m at work on via a portal in time.   All of which is inspired by my fascination with the past. The unifying characteristic of the series is the paranormal/time travel element, but the stories themselves aren’t necessarily tied together.
I came up with the idea about 4-5 years ago while watching one of my favorite British mysteries, Midsomer Murders.  I enjoy the historic setting of these modern day mysteries, but especially when the story flashes back to an even earlier time in an old manor house or church to get to the root of the mystery.  So I thought, why not incorporate that with my love of romance and history.
“Man … can go up against gravitation in a balloon, and why should he not hope that ultimately he may be able to stop or accelerate his drift along the Time-Dimension, or even turn about and travel the other way.”~ H.G. WELLS, The Time Machine
“Once confined to fantasy and science fiction, time travel is now simply an engineering problem.” ~ MICHIO KAKUWired Magazine, Aug. 2003
Star-crossed lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it is too late? Newly arrived at Foxleigh, the gracious old Wentworth home in Virginia, British born Julia Morrow is excited at the prospect of a summer working as a guide in the stately house and herb garden. She quickly discovers the historic plantation holds far more. She becomes obsessed with the portrait of handsome Cole Wentworth, killed in a quarrel over the lovely English lady, Julia Maury, two hundred years ago. 
Then she meets his double, William, the only remaining Wentworth heir. Somehow, Julia must persuade Will that their fates are entwined with those of Cole Wentworth and Julia Maury, and that the man who killed his ancestor has returned to enact the deadly cycle again, or she will lose him twice. The blade is about to fall.~
Neil MacKenzie’s well-ordered life turns to chaos when Mora Campbell shows up claiming he’s her fiancé from 1602 Scotland. Her avowal that she was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, is utter nonsense, and Neil must convince her that she is just addled from a blow to her head–or so he believes until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood.
Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past. Although her kinsmen believe he’s dead, and she is now destined to marry Niall’s brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The only problem is how to get back to 1602 before it’s too late.
The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. An ancient relic and a few good friends in the future help pave the way back to the past, but will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?~
SOMEWHERE THE BELLS RING: (Release Date 11-09)
Caught with pot in her dorm room, Bailey Randolph is exiled to a relative’s ancestral home in Virginia to straighten herself out. Banishment to Maple Hill is dismal, until a ghost appears requesting her help. Bailey is frightened but intrigued. Then her girlhood crush, Eric Burke, arrives and suddenly Maple Hill isn’t so bad.
To Eric, wounded in Vietnam, his military career shattered, this homecoming feels no less like exile. But when he finds Bailey at Maple Hill, her fairy-like beauty gives him reason to hope–until she tells him about the ghost haunting the house. Then he wonders if her one experiment with pot has made her crazy.
As Bailey and Eric draw closer, he agrees to help her find a long-forgotten Christmas gift the ghost wants. But will the magic of Christmas be enough to make Eric believe–in Bailey and the ghost–before the Christmas bells ring?
**My books are available at The Wild Rose PressAmazonBarnes &Noble and other online booksellers