Month: September 2018
The little community of Dulwich, where families strive to get their children into the best schools, and home of Wyatt Academy, is, as its name implies—dull. But, for Beth Haldane, a single mom who has just been hired as assistant archivist at Wyatt, it’s not only a way to supplement her freelance income, but home. Dull becomes deadly, though, when, on her first day at the new job, Beth stumbles across the body of her new boss, stabbed to death in an isolated area of the prestigious school. Now, out of innate curiosity, and to clear her own name—after all, police often suspect the person who found the body—she must discover the real killer. But, the more she pokes the hornet’s nest, the more dust she stirs up, until her own life is in danger.
Death in Dulwich by Alice Castle is British cozy mystery at its absolute best. An amateur detective who fumbles and stumbles, often interfering with the official investigation, in a search for the truth. It’s also one of the funniest cozies I’ve read so far this year, and one that you won’t regret having read.
I give it four stars.
After evading Emperor Nero’s agents, disgraced and impoverished, Theodosia Varros flees Rome with her lover, Alexander, a young slave, Lycos, and her childhood friend, Stefan. They end up in Greece, a strange culture, where she finds an enemy she did not expect, Alexander’s son, Nikos.
Even in Greece, though, Theodosia and her friends are not safe from Nero’s search for her, and she must continue to hide from his agents, while at the same time dealing with the new threats.
The Viper Amulet by Martha Marks continues to harrowing journey begun in Rubies of the Viper, with even more daring adventures, close escapes, and betrayals. A captivating heroine, and an in-depth exploration of ancient Rome and the surrounding lands and their turbulent histories.
A real page-turner. I give it five stars.
A wealthy New Delhi socialite, Ahana has just gotten out of an abusive marriage, and on the eve of a planned trip to the U.S. has to deal with the sudden death of her mother. In an effort to get away from it all, she accepts the assignment to go to New Orleans to coordinate a major international conference on women, where she must work with a PR man, Rohan Brady, who, based upon his on-line persona, she’s convinced is an irredeemable womanizer. For comfort, she turns to Jay, a participant in her on-line support group for people who have lost loved ones, who also claims to have recently lost his mother. As her relationships deepen, she begins to learn that things are not always as they seem.
Louisiana Catch by Sweta Srivastava Vikram is a compelling novel about dealing with abuse and self-image, and how one person, through perseverance and the help of true friends is able to overcome a horrible past and forge a brighter path to the future. The author makes the innermost feelings of an eclectic cast of characters come alive as she walks the reader patiently through the trauma and turmoil of dealing with physical and emotional abuse.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I found the subject disturbing, but instructive, and the portrayal of various personalities most enlightening. I give it four stars.
Most people watch movies or TV shows merely for the entertainment, but editors, Robert Woolston and Tom Bowers have dissected top-rated movies and TV series for their philosophical content. In Box Office Philosophy they look at the underlying philosophical concepts of several well-known and popular movies and TV shows, such as The Godfather and Seinfeld, showing how the authors or directors incorporated the philosophical tenets of such greats as Ayn Rand and many of the Greek philosophers.
You don’t have to be an intellectual to enjoy, or learn, from this book. Not only does it help you better understand such concepts as stoicism or consequentialism, but it will give you a better appreciation of the movie or show. How, for instance, does The Shawshank Redemption illustrate ancient stoicism, or Pulp Fiction showcase Aristotelian ethics? The editors do not go into whether or not the intent of any of these shows was to highlight philosophical principles, but just knowing that they were more than mindless entertainment is uplifting.
I received a complimentary review copy of this book, and I strongly recommend it.
It’s been a while since I wrote a short story. So, when I was asked to do one for a tribute volume to western author Scott Harris, I jumped at the chance. Believe it or not, my story was selected to open the book – how neat is that. A new offering from Dusty Saddle Publishing, and it’s quite a deal at only 99 cents.
Kindle version available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HCNK39Z
Eden Tywyn, plant lady at Packard Falls’ Cambridge Mall, hopes she can finally get some rest. Her back-from-the-dead husband, Calib, after assaulting her, is finally behind bars, facing a long prison sentence on federal fraud counts, and she and her friend, Veronique, have survived being kidnapped and nearly killed. But, along with a hangover, she is depressed, because her vindictive mother-in-law, Camille Thorne, continues to be a thorn in her side. Camille is determined to develop the mall for profit and blames Eden and Veronique for blocking her. In addition, she seems to be engaged in a personal vendetta against Eden.
The Plant Lady Grows a Pear by Gwen Pankhurst is the third book in the Plant Lady series, following the misadventures of Eden and her eclectic set of friends as they face off against unbridled greed backed by great wealth. Action, introspection, and evil deeds are woven in a tapestry of entertaining reading—and, for dog lovers, a valiant dog who saves Eden’s life in more way than one.
This series just keeps getting better. I particularly like how the author wraps up most of the loose ends of the story; yet leaves an opening for further adventure. I received and advance reader copy of this book.
Another five-star presentation by Pankhurst.
When a 73-year-old moral crusader and a 32-year-old woman are found shot execution style in a cheap, by-the-hour hotel room, DCI Isaac Cook and his team find themselves with a case that could make or break them.
In addition to having to deal with a high-profile case, Cook must also contend with an incompetent chief superintendent who is protected by an equally incompetent, but politically connected police commissioner. As the bodies start piling up, the pressure increases. They must dig into the backgrounds and current lives of influential and wealthy families, while fending off the machinations of enemies within the police bureaucracy in order ro solve the cases and prevent further murders.
Murder in Room 346 by Phillip Strang is book 7 in the DCI Isaac Cook mystery series, and in my humble opinion is the best one so far. Police procedure, bureaucratic maneuverings, and dirty deeds aplenty will keep you flipping pages until you reach a most satisfying, and somewhat surprising conclusion. Kudos to Strang for an extremely well-crafted, exquisitely paced story.
I received an advance review copy od this book. A resounding five stars!