Day: June 20, 2018

Book Review: Murder on Tyneside by Eileen Thornton

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If you’re a fan of British crime thrillers, cozy mysteries, Agatha Christie-esque puzzles, or charming women who are inadvertently thrown in the middle of a murder, Murder on Tyneside is a book you will enjoy. Author Eileen Thorntondelivers quite a caper with a wonderful side slice of charisma and old-fashioned wit with the launch of her Tyneside mystery series. The book was published in late 2016 amidst a sea of her other fun-sounding stories, but this had the most appeal when I decided to sample a Thornton novel. At the time, I hadn’t realized it was a series nor did I know what Tyneside was, but its premise drew me in. Now I’ve been happily clued into both!

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Recent widow in her mid-50s, Agnes Lockwood, travels back home to try to figure out what’s next in her life. From the very first chapter, you can tell she misses her husband, but she’s also practical enough to want to enjoy the rest of her life despite the recent loss. I fancy her as a cross between Nancy Drew and Miss Marple… not quite young enough to be a funny, flirtatious girl about town, but not old enough to seem like a nosy aging neighbor. She’s witty and smart, but cautious and curious all the same. Someone I’d love to have a few drinks with and study the people sitting in the room around us. And that’s basically how she solves the crimes. What starts off as a series of jewelry heists in the hotel where she’s temporarily residing turns into a couple of murders. A mysterious man has been following her, and sometimes he seems innocent, yet at others we clearly know he’s got ulterior motives. When Agnes meets a former high school friend AKA potential new love interest, she finds herself privy to all the information on the case given he’s the lead detective doing the investigating. It’s always good to have that kind of access to the clues, right?

Thornton has an easy, breezy writing style that makes you feel invested yet not over-stimulated. It’s not quite a cozy or a thriller, but a fine balance of good old-fashioned detection and intuition combined with a few fun chase scenes, double crossing curious dialog and a tad of necessary romance. At times, it felt like I was sitting there with Agnes re-telling me the story days after it happened. It was driving me a bit nuts trying to guess how the thief was breaking into the hotel rooms given all the facts we learned about access cards, keys and background checks. Thornton cleverly leads us on a path to miss the obvious. I’m usually good at guessing the how, but this time I was stumped. I was certain who the criminal was, and I am glad I at least got that part right!

I’m curious where the author plans to go with the series, as I know there is at least one other book already published, but what about the future! Some clues were left behind in this series debut, and I’m sure there’s a secret about Agnes’ husband’s death at some point, not to mention what’s really going on with her sons’ sudden move to Australia. She tells us why she chose not to go with them, but not much more… a good way to invest readers in the characters without knowing too much about their lives. Throw in a few areas of conflict with the other members of the police, a peculiar hotel setting, and a lovely woman who needs a new purpose in life, you’ve got all the makings of a strong following.

I’m glad I bought this book when it was on-sale last month, and I believe it will be again sometime later this year. Mark it on Amazon or other book sites so you can catch the sale and enjoy a new series. Now I need to figure out what book might be next for me from this author… another Tyneside or should I chance a completely different stand-alone book from Thornton’s body of works.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Devil’s Food Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

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I am just over half way through the Hannah Swensen cozy mystery series with #14, Devil’s Food Cake Murder, written in 2011 by Joanne Fluke. When I flipped through the Acknowledgments section in the paperback, it noted that Hannah was voted as the most liked non-detective crime solver that year… how interesting! I love the series and think she’s quite fun, but each book seems to get a little lighter on plot and heavier on recipes. I preferred the balance in the earlier novels, yet they are still always a great read… even if I’m now down to about an hour to push through them despite being over 300 pages. When I flip 10 pages to skip the recipe, it breezes by quickly.

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In this caper, Hannah finds the dead body of Reverend Bob’s temporary sit-in while he’s on his honeymoon with Claire. Hannah’s mom is watching Claire’s fashion shop all the while trying not to insult the customers when they pick the wrong outfits for their body type. But the biggest change in this Lake Eden puzzle is Hannah’s dating life. She’s waffled between Mike and Norman for 13 books, beginning to see them both wane at her indecision and start seeing other people… well, now there’s a massive decision that will change the events in future books. In one way, I’m glad, as she was stringing them on for far too long. I agree with taking time to play the field, and maybe it’s only been 2 to 3 years in story time, but it feels like a decade!

As for the mystery, nothing extraordinary, and it didn’t really involve many characters we’ve met before except one adorable octogenarian, so it was not my favorite. I still enjoyed all the side interactions in the town, the developing relationships between Hannah and her family, and the set-up for the next book in terms of Hannah’s love life. I’m sticking with it, but I hope there’s more mystery coming soon! 3.5 stars…

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.