detective

Review: Body Work

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Body WorkMy rating: 4 of 5 stars to Sara Paretsky‘s novel Body Work, the 14th book in her “VI Warshawski” mystery series published in 2010. I read this book when it first came out, as I was already caught up in the series. I need to get back to them as I think there are a few more, as she tends to release one every 2 to 3 years.

Warshawski is a private investigator working in Chicago. She’s in her late 40s/early 50s throughout a big part of the series, very tough and one of the original female detectives written about in a full on series. I suspect she is the incarnation of the author, as I’ve read a bit about her, too. She’s quite fascinating and very open about her life and what she’s doing.

In this book, Paretsky takes us into the underground club scene, scattering around with VI Warshawski’s cousin Petra, a group of artists, tattoo junkies and soldiers back from Iraq with PTSD. It’s the kind of book where you think you know what’s going to happen, but you’ll be surprised a few times. I remember it made me want a tattoo even more than I already did at the time. 7 years later, I still don’t have one… but not because I am worried / scared. I can’t decide what to get!!!

Paretsky’s books are also somewhat educational. She takes care to provide a lot of details (without going overboard) about the social issue and topics she’s handling in each one. It makes for a great mystery, but also a solid learning experience.

The main character, Warshawski, is very amusing in an offbeat way. She’s got a chip on her shoulder and often borders on “I want to knock her down a peg or two,” simply because she sometimes lets her attitude get in the way of her success, both in her personal life and her professional life. However, she’s also a very dedicated and solid friend, so you know you can always count on her.

Lots of great scenes in this book, particularly about the art of tattoo work and the impact of war on soldiers. Also a few highly descriptive scenes including some violence. Not too bad, but enough that it may turn off a few folks who prefer the cozy mystery. I don’t know how that woman gets back up again after being knocked down so many times. I’d stay on the floor and say “I’m done.”

If you’re not up for a whole series, you can read this one stand-alone. Not a big connection between all the books other than the timeline of her aging and some friends that shift in and our of her life.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

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Review: Smokin’ Seventeen

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Smokin' Seventeen
Smokin’ Seventeen by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Stephanie Plum certainly has a lot of people in her life who want to tell her what to do. I’m not sure I’d handle it as well as she does… and she doesn’t always handle it well. But that’s why we all love her. Two key things about this particular book:

1. Dead bodies keep popping up. A detective’s dream… I mean, yeah, it’s bad for the person who was killed, but at least Stephanie is making some money off it, right? (I’m totally joking… she doesn’t get paid enough to deal with it).

2. The relationship spin-o-wheel is on over-drive this time. Not only has everyone stuck their nose into whether she should have Ranger or Morelli, she’s being setup on blind dates now… and her friends are making bets on what will happen.

You know it’s bad when it gets to that degree. And if you’re on book 17, do you really want a regular review on this one? If you’ve never read the series before, go back and read 1 thru 3. They set everything up… and by then, you’ll know if you have the hutzpah to handle ’em all. And my bet is she will NEVER choose one man.

And oh yeah… when I’ve got 18 books in the series I’ve read, and only done 2 reviews, and it’s been 5 to 10 years since I’ve read them… it’s gonna be hard to remember everything to finish these reviews. Yikes, why do I feel so much pressure to have a review for every rating when I’ve read a book. I’m such a type A over-achiever who needs a good swift kick in the…

And I bet that’s how Stephanie feels too!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.


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Review: Edited Out: A Mysterious Detective Mystery

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Edited Out: A Mysterious Detective MysteryMy rating 3.5 out of 5 stars to E.J. Copperman‘s novel Edited Out: A Mysterious Detective Mystery, the second in Jeff Cohen’s (author’s real name) “Mysterious Detective Mystery” series of books. It was really a 3.4999999 and I had to unfortunately round down. Now that I’m reviewing more ARCs, I find myself starting series in the middle, which is never a good idea… And though this was a good book, you should definitely read the first one before you take on book two. I’ll explain why later on in this review. Onward we go…

Why This Book
I belong to an advanced reader group on Facebook for cozy mystery books, where I entered a contest to win a copy of this one. I won the book, and I’d like to thank E.J. Copperman, Crooked Lane Publishers and the ladies who run the Facebook group for the opportunity. And as expected, my review is an honest response to the book. It was the last open ARC I had before jumping on to some NetGalley awards, so it’s good to feel caught up on at least one site.

Overview of Story
Rachel is a mystery writer living in NJ, and she has several books penned about a detective named Duffy Madison. She makes a decent living at writing, but her life is turned upside down when a man named Duffy Madison claims to be her character brought to real life. (Note, this all happened in the first book… we’re now on the second book…) In this one, Duffy’s research leads him to Damien Mosely who has been missing for 5 years. Despite her concerns, Rachel agrees to help Duffy investigate Damien who lived in Poughkeepsie, NY. During their investigation, they meet 4 or 5 people who are all telling some level of lies about who Damien was and what kind of relationship they previously had. No one believes he is dead, but then a body is discovered, and it matches Damien’s and Duffy’s description. After a few days of checking out all the leads, they are all starting to believe Duffy can’t be Damien, as Damien is definitely the dead body; however, Damien’s supposed wife turns up dead, throwing suspicion onto Duffy. Rachel and Ben, a friend who works in the DA’s office, dig even further and learn a few secrets that bring the murderer to the forefront. In the end, the case is solved, with a few mishaps and a few near-death experiences.

Approach & Style
1. “Edited Out” is book 2 in the series. Book 1 was “Written Off.” The entire premise in the series is that an author meets a man who claims he is the character in her books. Duffy has no memory before 5 years ago, when the first book was published, and he’s determined to prove that he’s not someone with memory loss. Meanwhile, the author, Rachel, is trying not to get close to him, as she thinks he might be a little crazy; however, she’s drawn to helping him figure out his identity, as she is struggling to write the character now that she’s seeing some of his characteristics come to life in front of her. What if she makes a mistake?

2. It’s a first-person narrative, told from Rachel’s perspective and point of view. It does not jump around, which is a good thing for some readers. It helps keep a little bit of suspense, especially given how important of a character Duffy Madison is to both the real book and the books Rachel writes within the book we are reading.

Strengths
1. This could have been tremendously confusing, but the writer does a good job at being very clear when we’re talking about Duffy the character and Duffy the real-life person, and rarely without it feeling repetitive. It’s a great concept – a character comes to life – if that’s what it turns out to be. Reminds be a little of Jasper Fforde‘s series with Thursday Next.

2. The writing is relaxed and easy, makes you laugh and crosses that line a little between the writer and the reader, but in a good way. A few times, I’m like:

Open Questions & Concerns
Though the mystery was good, it wasn’t superb. The book starts off in a place where it would have been really valuable to have read the first book previously. You’re left guessing how did Duffy meet Rachel, what kind of intros did they have, what was going on just before this all happened. But that was book 1 and you don’t know unless you read it. As a result, the mystery in this one isn’t like normal mysteries… Step 1, you have a character you get to know, Step 2, the character dies, Step 3, you search for the killer. Here, it’s… Step 1, let’s figure out who I am, Step 2, oh, I’m this guy possibly, Step 3, oh wait, he might be dead, Step 4, let’s figure out who killed him. So I’m left thinking…

“Yeah, I know if you investigate this murder, you might get some info on who you really are, but I don’t care about that murder… I just want to know if you really came to life from the book.”

BAM. And then the book ends with no further information on who the real life Duffy Madison is, other than he may have gone to school with the dead guy. Whaaaaat?

Final Thoughts
It’s a great concept. I like the story. I may go back to read book 1. But I’m not sure where the series will go at this point… will it be 10 books trying to figure out who the real life Duffy is, or did he really spring out of the book and this becomes a fantasy series. I might be able to go with it…

As I really enjoyed the author’s writing style, I’ll likely give some of his other series a chance. He has “The Haunted Guesthouse Mystery” series with 8 books and “Asperger’s Mystery” series with 4 books. I’d never heard of him or his books before, so I’m really glad I won this ARC.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

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Review: Explosive Eighteen

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Explosive Eighteen
Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

After 18 books in this series, I can’t always give out a 4 just because I laugh so hard I nearly pee myself. Evanovich has to work harder and harder to keep the high mark stars… but in all honesty, this was a hysterical edition in the series.

I read it about 5 years ago but still have vivid memories of many character escapades. And when it’s a trip to Hawaii (partly), who wouldn’t love it. I’m going back to add small review and thoughts on any book I never actually wrote up a review for. And this is one of them.

Reading about Stephanie Plum’s inability to accurately describe someone in a picture she saw briefly is pure gold. She is so goofy sometimes… I can’t believe she hasn’t gotten herself wasted at this point by some of the criminals she’s dealt with over the years.

And Lula is my favorite character, at least whenever she appears more prominently in a book. Watching her training, and eating, is laugh-out-loud funny. I always picture Gabourey Sidibe playing her… not sure why, but that’s who’s in my head.

I’m not a huge fan of Joyce but we all need a Moriarty of sorts, right? For those who haven’t read the series, Joyce is a fellow PI and former girlfriend of Stephanie’s on/off again relationship with Joe Morelli.

I think I stopped here with this book and still have the last 4 or 5 to catch up on. The series stalls every so often, but within each book, there’s a treasure of fun somewhere hidden if not the entire thing. They can be read in 3 to 4 hours… I would like to listen to one if they actually make an audio book. I wonder what accents everyone has, given it takes place in Newark, NJ.

Basically, you’ve got a woman everyone finds something they love about, but also a few annoying habits. You may want to date her, but then you’d want to kill her. She’s a good bestie, but even then, too many favors just to keep up with her antics.

Nonetheless, it makes for a fantastic read. So if you’ve never read the series, don’t start with this one. Go back to #1 and give it a shot. And then tell me if you’re a Ranger or a Morelli fan. (I’d pick Ranger, btw… isn’t it always better when the object of your affection also scares the hell out of you????)



About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by.

View all my reviews

Review: Sunset in Old Savannah

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Sunset in Old Savannah3 of 5 stars to Mary Ellis‘s Sunset in Old Savannah, the fourth in her “Secrets of the South” mystery series. In this book, the Price Investigation team heads to Savannah to investigate a new case and enjoy this lovely view:

This was my introduction to the series, as I received a free ARC from NetGalley and Harvest House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I will go back to read the first few books, and I suggest reading this series in order to ensure you understand all the history. This was a good ole’ cozy, leaving me interested in reading more, but didn’t spark a major love-fest with the series quite yet. Let’s hit the slopes…


Story

As I didn’t read Books 1 thru 3, I’m not sure I have the full background, but here’s the gist: Michael Preston and Beth Kirby have been working together for a short time as PIs in the Price Investigation Firm. Beth’s a former cop who left the force after a bad experience with a former partner. Michael resigned from his accounting position to take up more investigative work. Their boss sends them from their hometown in Natchez, Mississippi to Savannah, Georgia to help a wealthy woman, Evelyn Doyle, determine if her husband is cheating. Seems a few fights and sparks have happened between Michael and Beth in previous books, but that’s all so far.

After a few days in Savannah, they prove Evelyn’s husband was having an affair with a woman young enough to be his daughter. Evelyn thanks them and mentions she will forgive him and ask him to stop, after all, she is a good, Christian woman. Beth thinks the woman’s a little crazy, but later finds kinship with her, almost looking at her as a mother-figure. The boss encourages the pair to take a few paid days off and relax after finishing the case early. But when they do, they start getting a little romantic and wondering whether there could be more between them. Suddenly, Evelyn calls from jail, needing help to get a lawyer and release — hubby’s dead!

Along the path, Beth and Michael discover some shenanigans in the husband’s insurance business, a brother with a grudge, a confused and bitter jilted lover and some secrets about where the wealth came from. Michael and Beth split the work, track down clues and try not to piss off the local police who want them out of town ASAP. Beth comes closest to tracking down the ultimate culprit and finds herself in need of a rescue at the end.

But the boss, who has too much work in Savannah, asks them to recruit another PI to work out of Savannah for future cases… while solving the murder and helping their client Evelyn, the pair interview potential candidates and take-on a new case at a sushi restaurant where the owner suspects someone’s stealing.


Key Thoughts

1. The setting is beautiful. Love hearing about the old town squares, the weather, the big homes, the views of the ocean. Helps bring a clear picture into focus for the story.

2. The banter between the two leads can be amusing part of the time. But on the whole, their dialogue felt a bit stiff and planned. Too much unnecessary drama for a couple starting to date. They fell into all the traps of the boring get to know you details.

3. Beth Kirby can be very annoying. In the first few chapters, she’s a complete and utter train wreck to her partner and the client. She seems to think she’s better than everyone else, has a snotty reply that can only be taken one way, and she has trust issues. I’d have dropped her right away… but she gets better throughout the book. Only issue is, there were times where I thought she wasn’t likable enough to read another book. Part of her attitude becomes a little bit of charm along the way, even though she cries several times, which makes me think she’s not well-balanced to handle a job as a PI. Sometimes it’s funny. Sometime’s it’s not.

4. The POV alternates between Michael and Beth, or the focus of their activities does — one or the other. Doesn’t feel 100% consistent. Then when the third detective is added, and a different case being discussed, it feels a little off. While it was a fun short diversion, it won’t work for all readers.


Final Thoughts

So while parts of the book fell a bit flat, the overall story arch, the characters, the setting, etc. had some good points and I’d be curious to see another book by this author. It’s a decent read, the normal cozy you can handle over a few days and drift off into someone else’s world without getting too caught up. Take it for a spin and get comfy in the historic charm of Old Savannah.

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