Whiskey Sour by J. A. Konrath

August 6, 2013

whiskey sourWhiskey Sour is the first book in the Jack Daniels mystery series.  Jack “Jacqueline” Daniels is a cop in Chicago; we were reading Chicago-area mysteries for this month’s Mystery Fiends book discussion group.  The book very much follows the typical police procedural mystery, showing us the ins and outs of a police investigation.  Jack is attempting to catch a serial killer who has become fascinated with her.  The character of Jack Daniels was fully realized and the Chicago location rang very true to this reviewer who grew up in the city.  I have already started on the next book in the series, Bloody Mary, and plan to read more (as I have quite a few of them on my Kindle).


12th of Never by James Patterson & Maxine Paetro

August 5, 2013

12th of neverThe twelfth installment of the Women’s Murder Club series lives up to its predecessors with quick pacing and interconnected storylines, following the current happenings in the lives of the Women’s Murder Club members.  Lindsay has just given birth and is juggling worries about her baby’s health along with a number of unsolved homicides, Claire has had a body stolen from her morgue and is being held responsible for its loss, Cindy is trying to find a balance between her work life and her romantic relationship, and Yuki is in the midst of the trial of her life.  The storylines come to satisfying conclusions, but in the end we are left with a cliffhanger which will continue into the next book in the series.  A quick read that fans of this series will devour.

Casting Spells by Barbara Bretton

July 8, 2013

CastingSpellsOur May Mystery Fiends theme was Cozy Craft Mysteries, so I of course had to find one that also involved some paranormal aspects along with the crafting.  The book is set in the town of Sugar Maple, Vermont, a more than ideal New England town.  In this town, everything is pretty perfect – the snow doesn’t fall on the streets or sidewalks only on the grass, the roads are never icy, there is never any crime and hence no police force – because the town is protected by a magical spell.  The town is also a haven for various kinds of supernatural creatures which the spell makes seem normal to any outside visitor.  Unfortunately the spell is beginning to unravel because the next generation of sorcerer who is supposed to protect the town is half-human and doesn’t seem to possess any powers to reinforce the spell.  This seemingly powerless sorcerer is Chloe Hobbs, owner of the knitting store Sticks & String.  When the totally unexpected happens and a visitor to the town is found dead,  the state decides to send over an officer to investigate.  Luke MacKenzie suspects some strange things are going on, especially when he begins to spend more time with the Chloe.  And as Chloe begins to fall in love with Luke, her powers begin to manifest and she can’t always control them.  As they try to solve the murder, things get a little out of hand.

Overall I liked both the mystery and romance storylines in this book.  I liked both Chloe and Luke, and will read more of the book in this series to see how their relationship develops.


Rage Against the Dying by Becky Masterman

May 4, 2013

rage against the dyingOne of my co-workers recommended this thriller and I saw an Advance Readers’ Edition laying around, so I decided to read it.  The story centers around Brigid Quinn, a woman who retired from the FBI under less than stellar circumstances.  The book begins with her being attacked, a very well-written tense scene that pulls you right into her story.  When someone confesses to the biggest unsolved case of her serial killer hunting career, Brigid is pulled back into helping to find out if the confession is true. Brigid’s involvement in the case leads her to lie to her current husband and cause stress in their relationship.  I enjoyed the fact that this thriller’s main character was an older, flawed woman, a bit of a change from the normal protagonist in this type of book.  Overall, a worthwhile read.

Calculated in Death by J. D. Robb

April 5, 2013

calculated in deathWhat can I say?   I love Eve and Roarke and the whole cast of regular characters in this series.  While this may not be the best entry in the series, it is a solid addition that advances the characters.  It seems to me that Eve and Roarke grow in their relationship in each book, and I love seeing their relationship development.  Every time I open one of these books I feel like I am catching up on the lives of old friends.  If you haven’t read any of the In Death series, it is definitely one I recommend.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeffry Lindsay

March 27, 2013

Darkly Dreaming DexterBefore picking up this book, I already knew that Dexter was a serial killer along with being a blood spatter analyst.  I’ve never watched the television series, but somewhere along the line I think I had heard about it.  Darkly Dreaming Dexter is the first book in the series.   I wasn’t sure that I was going to like it, but somehow Lindsay manages to make Dexter relatable as the hero of the series.  And I’m really not sure how.  But I did find myself liking the character.  Maybe it’s because he is attractive and charming, and admits to himself that he isn’t quite human like the other people around him.  I loved the way he tried to figure out what emotions he was supposed to be feeling if he actually had real human emotions.  The thing that probably does it for me is that he only kills bad people, people who are preying on the weaker members of society, and somehow that makes it seem not so bad overall.  Maybe its my love of vampire books that helps me to see the logic in that, not that I condone it in real life, as there are quite a few vampire books out there where the hero of the story only drinks blood from the members of the underbelly of society.

In this book Dexter is caught between admiring the artistry of the killer the police are trying to catch, and helping to catch the killer and thus advance the career of his sister who is one of the cops working on the case.  He also finds himself questioning if he could be losing his mind and actually not be aware that he himself might be committing these crimes.  The book overall is well-written and even humorous at times.  The mystery of the serial killer keeps you guessing for a while, though I did guess who it turned out to be in the end.  Overall I would recommend this title, especially if you are looking for something a little different in your next mystery and its protagonist.

Harry Lipkin, Private Eye by Barry Fantoni

March 27, 2013

Harry Lipkin Private EyeThis month’s Mystery Fiends book discussion focuses on mysteries set in hot climates (we did nordic noir/books set in cold climates in January). I had already read some of the Joanna Brady series and had a hold that I was waiting for on Death by Darjeeling, so I decided to read an galley of Harry Lipkin, Private Eye that we had around.

Harry Lipkin is an 87 year old private investigator who lives in Miami, Florida.  The book is told from his point of view.  His observations were from the point of view of an 87 year old man, and a lot of his references were before my time.  It was a slow-paced mystery that the description on Amazon says “will appeal to fans of Alexander McCall Smith” (who I am not really a fan of).  The mystery itself involves a wealthy woman who finds that someone in her home is stealing items.  The cast of suspects are similar to the cast of the game Clue.  The perpetrator is a little bit of a surprise.

If you like a slow-paced mystery, and are at least retirement age or older, you may enjoy this.  But I really didn’t.