Murder

Book Review: Death Overdue by Allison Brook

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Death Overdue (The Haunted Library Mysteries, #1)Death Overdue by Allison Brook

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

After reading the second book in ‘The Haunted Library Mysteries’ by Allison Brook last year, I ordered a copy of the first in the series, Death Overdue, to read and get current. It’s a great setting and has a little bit of everything for cozy mystery lovers. Carrie Singleton (late 20’s, single) is about to leave Connecticut after visiting her aunt and uncle for a few months when she’s offered a promotion at the Clover Ridge library. Although she wants to escape, a ghost haunting the building convinces Carrie to stick it out. After her first event is held, the author she brought in to discuss new leads in a murder case from ~10 years earlier is poisoned and dies in the library. Carrie investigates to ensure no one thinks poorly of her, but she also finds the challenge an easy distraction to help her decide to stay in town.

Full of great supporting characters and side stories, this series has a lot of potential. You’ve got the ghost of a former employee who died under somewhat mysterious circumstances in a fall in the parking lot (we know that’ll be a mystery in future books!), a few colleagues who dislike Carrie because of her appearance or connection with her uncle as a member of the library board, her thief father who is missing, her sudden attraction with local sexy investigator Dylan, and a whole lot more. I look forward to all the capers and trouble that could happen in this charming New England town.

Brook has a simple yet strong writing style. It’s easy to get lost in the book for a few hours before realizing how far you’ve read. I like the descriptions and dialog as much as the narratives and past details being dropped throughout the story. I am very curious to learn more about Carrie’s aunt and uncle who likely have a very suspenseful and crazy past. This mystery was medium-complex and had a lot of family drama. Ultimately, I thought the killer was a little too easy to identify, but it did keep me guessing a few times in the middle section. I’m curious to see which characters stay in the future books and which ones disappear. There are only 2 in the series so far, but I’m sure a new one will be out in 2019. I’ll be looking for that ARC!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. 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: All Saints – Murder on the Mersey by Brian L. Porter

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All Saints: Murder on the Mersey (Mersey Murder Mysteries, #2)All Saints: Murder on the Mersey by Brian L. Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Murder is always an awful way to go, but when your killer is bent on revenge and has a taste for the thoroughly vicious and insane, it won’t be pretty. Such was the case for several men (who deserved it) in the second installment of the ‘Mersey Murder Mysteries’ series by Brian L. Porter. All Saints: Murder on the Mersey is a graphic tale where violent deaths are brilliantly depicted and religious hypocrisy is exposed. Kudos to Porter for making his characters come alive and his story stand out in the series.

In this book, Ross, Izzie and the rest of the gang are called to a cemetery when the naked, mutilated body of an unknown man is found. Certain parts have been cut off and stuffed in his mouth. Obviously, the crime is going to be of a sexual nature, but this is only the beginning. More bodies surface and none have a connection to one another — at first. Then the chapters begin to alternate with the murderer(s) discussing the crime, events from ~40 years ago coming to light, and hidden dreams of a priest who’s suddenly appeared back in town after a very long time. What do they have in common and how will they eventually lead to discovering the true intentions of a killer with a taste for the macabre and gory endings?

Porter’s imagination is explosive. He balances horrific crimes with poignant steps in the main characters’ lives (marriage, love, children). Each book handles a gruesome social issue vividly and with a punch to leave you thirsting for the next one. The way in which the victims die reminds you of thrilling and suspenseful horror films where a serial killer goes mental / berserk. Watching it unfold, realizing the relationships, and experiencing the connections to various gospels and names is entertaining and page-turning. I finished this one in just a few hours over a quiet afternoon. It’s gotten me very psyched for his upcoming release in which a haunting image is on the cover – can’t wait til he shares it. Bring it on soon, Porter! For now, I’ll be content to finish the one remaining in the series I haven’t gotten to… six in total so far — you’ll enjoy them all.

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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.

Book Review: Last Train to Lime Street by Brian L. Porter

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Last Train to Lime Street (Mersey Murder Mysteries Book 6)Last Train to Lime Street by Brian L. Porter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you were to look over my previously read book list, you’d notice ~75% are mysteries that are part of a book series. I enjoy getting to know a group of characters in a realistic setting who work together (or sometimes against) trying to discover what secrets led to a murder. Brian L. Porter’s ‘The Mersey Murder Mysteries’ series provides all that and more. I’d finished reading three of five previously written when his latest was released this month. Although I try to read in order, these can be read out of order as they’re stand-alone mysteries based on the fictional Merseyside Police Specialist Murder Investigation Team. If you read out of order, you might find someone married in a later book and single in an earlier book, but otherwise, it should be okay. Kudos to the author for building a great atmosphere and backdrop to tell his stories about the bizarre and nasty murders his special investigation team handles.

In Last Train to Lime Street, a train engineer making one of his final stops before retirement is navigating between stations when he sees something fall from a bridge. He tries to stop the train, but a collision is inevitable. He thought it was a body, but when he stumbles from the train car, it’s way more than he expected. Porter viscerally describes the impact of the train scattering body parts everywhere, and we soon realize, the body was naked and its severed head was actually cut prior to the collision. Who is the victim? When he’s got no identification and several parts are still missing, this won’t be an easy case. Enter detectives Izzie Drake and Andy Ross who quickly find a connection to a man recently reported as missing — an American transplant who runs a very successful adult entertainment company. Readers learn all about the porn industry through the victim’s business partners and three wives (1 current, 2 ex). Was he killed for something related to the mob-connected film company, a trick gone wrong, or some other more personal connection few knew anything about?

Our key detectives have to trace the path the victim took in the 2 days since leaving his wife and home for a business meeting. No one will admit to anything. Everyone says he was a good guy. Porter’s highly adept at creating a fine balance between educating readers on how the porn industry works versus what may or may not have contributed to the death. At times, the material can be a bit graphic, which for me was completely okay. It’s handled well, and it’s necessary to paint a full picture of the lifestyle and potential areas for clues. Not for the faint of heart, it delivers a powerful punch when you find out who the killer is and why (s)he felt the need to dispose of this well-known film star and business owner.

I’ve not read many UK police procedural series, but I love Agatha Christie’s books and the Midsomer Murders television show. I get the same traditional British feel in Porter’s books as I do from these other treats, but Porter’s are set in the early 2000s so they feel more current and urban. This is not your quaint little town that has a murder every so often. Drake and Ross handle only the intense! I love being able to get inside the head and actions of the entire team… we get the perspective from ~10 police members including a German transplant visiting for 2 years and those from other part of the UK who contribute to researching the case. Porter drops in a few wonderful personal stories for the primary detectives on the case so we know what’s going on in terms of marriages, children, relocation, and family death. It makes you feel like you’re reading about old friends when you stick with a series like this one.

I thoroughly enjoyed this latest edition and am looking forward to reading the earlier two I hadn’t gotten to yet. I have a goal: to be current before Porter releases book #7 in this series in early 2019. Why don’t you hurry up and read them so we can buddy read the next together?

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and 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 –and multiple Readathons. 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.

Book Review: ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

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'Twas the Knife Before Christmas (A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery, #2)‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas by Jacqueline Frost

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

It’s Christmastime both in my current reality and in Mistletoe, Maine… but a whole year has passed since the debut book in the ‘A Christmas Tree Farm Mystery’ series by Jacqueline Frost. This second book, ‘Twas the Knife Before Christmas, picks up with Holly’s eventual settlement back home, a new friendship with reporter Ray, adventures with best friend Caroline, and romance with sorta boyfriend Evan (the sheriff!). Life’s good until Derek, a guy who was too handsy with Caroline, ends up knifed in a candy display. Did Caroline kill him in revenge? Her high-powered father? A stalker crush who seems to want to protect her? Or some colleague of Derek’s who thought he was a threat? Holly is determined to protect her bestie but she starts getting threatening notes again just like last time. Are the crimes connected?

I won this book through a cozy giveaway, but I went back and ordered the first one on my own so I could be ready and current on the series. I’m thrilled to have stumbled upon it and would definitely recommend the series as a definite holiday read. Holly is a great protagonist who only has a few pushy moments while trying to solve the murder; they’re necessary and make her even more relatable. The town is visibly pictured as a result of Frost’s wonderful descriptions and writing style. The little fun factors (Theodore the goat, Cindy Lou Who the cat, Cookie the rich neighbor… the list goes on) make it even more enjoyable.

The murder is clever. The list of suspects is believable. The investigation is paced well — not too slow, not too fast. The way the criminal is captured is kinda cool. And the resolution to all the stories is a great end to the book. I am thrilled about the character of Libby. She seems like she could really be an asset in the town but also shake it up a little. Only 23 but quite smart and worldly already. I’m very excited about this new series but sad I’ll have to wait a full year to read the next one. I’m also curious if the series will skip a year again or pick up sometime mid-year. Kudos to the author and publisher for providing a copy thru the giveaway contest. 4.25 stars!

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About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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.

Book Review: Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting

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Murder at Morningside (Missy DuBois Mystery #1)Murder at Morningside by Sandra Bretting

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Murder at Morningside is the debut book in the Missy DuBois Mystery series written by Sandra Bretting. Missy is a wedding hat designer in Louisiana who is in love with her best friend Ambrose, a wedding dress designer, and who has a penchant for being a little too nosy and finding dead bodies. After I won the third and fourth books in a giveaway contest last year, I read them and thought they were good. I wanted to catch up on the beginning before the fifth one is released in the future, so here we go…

In this caper, Missy and Ambrose are staying at an inn where a couple is being married. They are onsite for final wedding ensemble fittings and preparation but taking advantage of the old southern home’s beautiful buildings and grounds. After overhearing a few odd conversations, they enter a hat contest to see if it will help grow Missy’s start-up business. During the opening ceremony, Missy comforts a distraught woman who can’t find her stepdaughter. She’s later found by a maid, but the girl is dead in a bathroom stall — it’s the bride Missy and Ambrose were working for but had never met! Missy gets to know the staff, family, and friends at the estate and finds herself suspecting a few people of affairs, gaslighting, and intent to harm. But which one really did the bride in? Missy discovers the truth with the help of her high school friend who’s now a detective in the parish.

As far as mysteries, it’s good. There are red herrings, strong clues, misunderstandings, and interesting discoveries. I enjoyed learning about the history of the area during the Civil War and how different kinds of hats are created. Missy is a vivid character with all the typical amateur sleuth personality traits and portrayed as a bold southern woman (maybe a little too much exaggeration, but I’m not from the South, so I can’t be 100% certain). That said, I felt some of the writing and ways in which Missy got her information were a bit forced or stilted. I remember thinking the same thing in the other books I read. It’s not bad, just borders on awkward in certain sections. I still want to read the full series as there’s a lot of dimension and detail in the settings, relationships, and characters which draw you in easily.

Bretting is strong in describing action and culture, and she has a good grasp of when and how to throw in southern slang or common vernacular. A few times it made me cock my head a bit in curiosity, but I’ve actually heard some of these sayings so it’s more just that it’s a difference place than I’m used to. That’s what makes it fun as I feel transported somewhere else while reading her books. The cover is snappy and cute. The series has a good hook. I gotta wonder what’s ultimately gonna happen between Ambrose and Missy, as in books three and four, they seem to be dating. In book one, she’s in love with him and he’s smitten. Maybe when I read book two, I’ll figure it all out. But he’s definitely got something he’s hiding…

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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.

Book Review: A Deadly Eclair by Daryl Wood Gerber

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A Deadly Éclair (A French Bistro Mystery, #1)A Deadly Éclair by Daryl Wood Gerber

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

A Deadly Eclair is the debut book in the ‘A French Bistro Mystery’ series written by Daryl Wood Gerber. I read the second book in this series earlier in the year after winning it in a giveaway contest. I enjoyed the characters and setting which led me to starting the series from the beginning. There’s something about the Napa Valley atmosphere full of wine, food, and culture that makes the books easy-to-read, immersive, and charming. I’ve been to many of the places being described or noted which helps ensure an even tighter connection to the story and the characters. It also helps that the books are well-written with the right balance of humor and knowledge (about wine, food, relationships, France).

Mimi’s husband died several years ago leaving her broke. After settling his debt and untying her emotional loss over all his lies, she moved back home to start anew. This book kicks off many months later once she’s decided to open a restaurant with the backing of a new partner, Bryan. He’s a pseudo-father figure for Mimi who lost her dad years ago. Bryan asks her to manager his niece’s wedding as part of her first few events. All goes smoothly until Bryan is found dead with one of Mimi’s famous desserts in his mouth… and, oh yeah, some jewels. Mimi’s surrounded by his family, his niece’s soon-to-be husband’s family, and some interesting friends. Which one of them had a past connection to Bryan that led to murder?

Throw in some wonderful side stories with how Mimi bonds with her new staff, opens her heart to going on a date for the first time, makes new friends, helps her mom overcome some new steps in her life, and tries to earn a living despite a few wondering if she killed Bryan to kick him out of her business. She’s tough, but caring. She’s a little nosy for my tastes, but it’s often typical of these types of series. Mimi has an investment in knowing who killed Bryan since it relates to her new inn, but at times, I felt like she grilled people a bit too much. Especially when they were her guests and she was trying to succeed with her new business. She’d annoy someone in one chapter, then they were friendly with her again in the next one. Maybe I just hold grudges a bit too long!

Now that I’ve devoured two, I can say I’m a series fan and look forward to the third which I assume will be published in mid-2019. I’ll be on the lookout for joining the blog tour or ARC team if possible.

View all my reviews

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.

Book Review: Death on Windmill Way by Carrie Doyle

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Death on Windmill Way: Volume 1 (Hamptons Murder Mysteries)Death on Windmill Way: Volume 1 by Carrie Doyle

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

There are lots of reasons why I choose a novel. For instance, I won a giveaway last year for the second book in the Hamptons Murder Mystery series written by Carrie Doyle and enjoyed reading it. Given the author doesn’t live too far from me in NYC and I’ve been to the Hamptons where the books take place, it felt like a good match… so I’m reading the series from the beginning starting with the first one, Death on Windmill Way. 4.5 stars to this wonderful gem that helped me jump out of a small reading slump last week where I tried three books and couldn’t get into any of them. This one left me excited to read again, and I’ll soon be picking up the next in series to keep moving forward.

Antonia moved to the Hamptons ~8 months earlier on a whim. She’d been in an awful relationship, lived in California, and needed a fresh start. She purchased an inn (sight unseen) based on a friend’s suggestion and immediately remodeled it. When the book kicks off, she’s just re-opened post-summer season to good reviews but is still struggling to make ends meet. Antonia slowly learns of a curse haunting past owners of the inn which steers her in the direction of researching the history she should’ve learned about before buying the place (she knows she messed up, too!). Unfortunately, she learns the curse is more than just a rumor – someone has been killing them, but why? Between former and new staff at the inn, some residents in the town, a few friends she makes, and the local reporter, Antonia uses her ingenuity to solve the case. The police aren’t even involved until a second murder takes place, but since it looks like an accident at first, they’re not inclined to do much.

My absolute favorite part of the book occurs when Antonia gathers all the suspects together at a dinner party and one by one picks them off… um, I mean… reveals their secrets or explains why they could be the killer. She leaves someone for last, and it’s a doozy! I had two possible culprits in mind, and I was right with one of them. That said, it’s not obvious, and the weaving in and out of everyone’s alibis and motives is truly a great story. Antonia is a strong lead character, very well developed, but with a few personality traits that might irk some. She’s a tad judgmental (equally against all people in an understandable way) but overly honest and dedicated. I really look forward to see how she develops over the series and getting to meet the rest of the regulars in the town.

View all my reviews
About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. My new book series, Braxton Campus Mysteries, will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. There are two books: Academic Curveball and Broken Heart Attack. I read, write, and blog A LOT on this site where 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.