Tag Archives: mystery fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer TBR

19 Jun

It is definitely summer here in the sunny South. The humidity and temps are up and the bugs are out. But I can’t complain because I have some great summer reading — history, mystery, romance, and suspense all in varying combinations! What about you? What are you reading this summer?

Make sure to check out other bloggers’ summer reading lists at That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books on My Summer Reading List

 

Cold, Cold Heart by Christine Poulson

Dead Drift by Dani Pettrey

The Death Beat by Fiona Veitch Smith

Falling for You by Becky Wade

The Linen God by Jim O’Shea

The Love Letter by Rachel Hauck

Murder at The Flamingo by Rachel McMillan

A Rebel Heart by Beth White

The Reckoning at Gossamer Pond by Jaime Jo Wright

Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof

 

What’s on your Summer TBR?

 

Advertisements

Book Review: Threads of Suspicion

3 May

Evie Blackwell’s reputation as a top investigator for the Illinois State Police has landed her an appointment to the governor’s new Missing Persons Task Force. This elite investigative team is launched with plenty of public fanfare. The governor has made this initiative a high priority, so they will have to produce results–and quickly.

Evie and her new partner, David Marshal, are assigned to a pair of unrelated cases in suburban Chicago, and while both involve persons now missing for several years, the cases couldn’t be more different. While Evie opens old wounds in a close-knit neighborhood to find a missing college student, David searches for a private investigator working for a high-powered client.

With a deep conviction that “justice for all” truly matters, Evie and David are unrelenting in their search for the truth. But Evie must also find answers to the questions that lie just beneath the surface in her personal life.

Dee Henderson is the author of 14 best-selling novels, including the acclaimed O’Malley series and the Uncommon Heroes series. As a leader in the inspirational romantic suspense category, her books have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards, including the RWA’s RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, the Holt Medallion, the National Readers’ Choice Award, and the Golden Quill. Dee is a lifelong resident of Illinois and is active online. Visit her at http://www.deehenderson.com.

 

My Impressions:

Dee Henderson is a favorite with lots of readers. Her beloved O’Malley series tops the lists of many romantic suspense fans. As with many authors, her writing has evolved over the years featuring more depth in character development and in relationship dynamics. The suspense element has waned a bit, and mystery has become more the norm. That is what I have found in her Evie Blackwell Cold Case series and in Threads of Suspicion, specifically. For the most part I like this turn in Henderson’s writing, though I have found some long-time fans do not. If you are looking for fast-paced, breath-holding suspense, this book is not for you. It is a slowly unfolding story featuring painstaking police work. I liked it, but if you are expecting another book a la the OMalley’s you may be disappointed.

Evie Blackwell, a detective with the Illinois State Police, has been assigned to the Missing Person Task Force, a multi-jurisdictional team tasked with solving the most difficult of cold cases. Evie and team member David Marshall share an office while investigating separate cases. But soon their individual cases intersect in interesting ways. Just what happened to a private investigator? And what did he have to do with a missing college student?

As stated above, Threads of Suspicion is more mystery than thriller. There is one instance of suspense late in the book, but much of that happens off page. Evie and David are dogged investigators exploring every thread no matter how obscure. I found the way they went about their individual cases interesting and their unique modes of operation intriguing. If the novel had just been about the cases, I would have liked the book fine. But Henderson includes a lot of character development, especially when it comes to their love relationships. I have to say that a little of that would have gone a long way. The characters really think — a lot — about the direction their love lives are going. Yes it’s realistic, but for me it became a bit tedious to read. I found myself skimming over those scenes to get back to the mystery. The characters are dedicated Christians, and their choices are influenced heavily by their faith. That’s a plus for fans of inspirational fiction.

All in all, I liked Threads of Suspicion. But I didn’t love it.  I will definitely read any sequel that may come in the future, but I am hoping for more mystery.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Bethany House for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

2018 Inspy Shortlists!

2 May

The Inspy Awards, the blogger-based awards program for inspirational books, has announced their 2018 shortlists. Whew! What a great bunch of books! Now it’s in the judges hands, and what a tough job they have. Congrats to all the authors! For more info, check out inspy.com.

 

Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense

A New Shade of Summer (Waterfall Press) by Nicole Deese

Then There Was You (Bellbird Press) by Kara Isaac

Jane of Austin (Waterbrook) by Hillary Manton Lodge

True to You (Bethany House) by Becky Wade

Just Look Up (Tyndale) by Courtney Walsh

 

Debut Fiction

 Still Waters (Firefly Southern Fiction) by Lindsey P. Brackett

Freedom’s Ring (Tyndale) by Heidi Chiavaroli

Count Me In (I21 Publishing House) by Mikal Dawn

Lady Jayne Disappears (Revell) by Joanna Davidson Politano

Stars in the Grass (Shiloh Run Press) by Ann Marie Stewart

 

General Fiction

Perennials (Thomas Nelson) by Julie Cantrell

A Trail of Crumbs: A Novel of the Great Depression (Kregel) by Susie Finkbeiner

Life After (Waterbrook) by Katie Ganshert

The Space Between Words (Thomas Nelson) by Michele Phoenix

The Austen Escape (Thomas Nelson) by Katherine Reay

 

Historical Romance

A Note Yet Unsung (Bethany House) by Tamera Alexander

The Road to Paradise (Waterbrook) by Karen Barnett

Many Sparrows (Waterbrook) by Lori Benton

A Lady in Disguise (Howard) by Sandra Byrd

A Moonbow Night (Revell) by Laura Frantz

 

Literature for Young Adults

The Returning (Tyndale) by Rachelle Dekker

Unraveling (Thomas Nelson) by Sara Ella

For Love and Honor (Zondervan) by Jody Hedlund

The Lost Girl of Astor Street (Blink) by Stephanie Morrill

The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (Thomas Nelson) by Mary Weber

 

Mystery/Thriller

The Enoch Effect (Waterfall Press) by Rick Acker

Death at Thorburn Hall (Bethany House) by Julianna Deering

Crown of Souls (Bethany House) by Ronie Kendig

A Portrait of Vengeance (Thomas Nelson) by Carrie Stuart Parks

Imperfect Justice (Thomas Nelson) by Cara Putman

 

Speculative Fiction

Raging Storm (Harvest House) by Vannetta Chapman

The Divide (Tyndale) by Jolina Petersheim

The Beast of Talesend (Indie) by Kyle Robert Schultz

The Girl Who Could See (Indie) by Kara Swanson

King’s Blood (Bethany House) by Jill Williamson

 

Book Review: Fatal Fraternity

23 Apr

Someone is killing alumni of a fraternity —and homicide detective Dean Warren has no idea why. As he unravels the mystery of two murders, and more that follow, his search for a serial killer leads to a long list of suspects and several dead ends. Dean has always captured the killer quickly, so what is different this time? In the process of solving the mystery, he forges a friendship with Lydia James, the ex-wife of the first victim. It doesn’t take long for him to be distracted from his quest. She is all he can think about. Their sons, Toby and Ethan, are best friends, so the four quickly become like a family unit, doing everything together. Dean knows he will capture the murderer eventually, but he wonders how to capture Lydia’s heart. It will be no little feat. Her ex-husband’s chronic infidelity has left mincemeat of her heart. Their sons want them to marry—to create a real family— but first Lydia has to come to terms with her past. She has to forgive before she can love again.

The Dean Warren Mysteries will be a series of three or more novels.

 

Linda Owen has a long history as a professional writer and English teacher. She has written articles for hundreds of publications. She received a master of divinity degree from Perkins School of Theology (SMU) and served briefly as a chaplain and a pastor. She also wrote Bible study curriculum for the United Methodist Publishing House. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association. Her other novels include Emergency Care and Lady President. She lives in San Antonio with her husband Ervin.

 

My Impressions:

A police officer with God-gifted intuition is the main character in Linda Owen’s novel Fatal Fraternity. This mystery follows Dean Warren, a Texas police detective, in his pursuit of a killer that is targeting long time friends. Suspects with multiple motives keep the detectives on their toes in this twisting, turning novel. A quick read, it would be a good accompaniment for a weekend getaway.

I liked main character Dean. He is a man of faith with true compassion for those left in the wake of the murders he is investigating. His giftedness in discerning the truth is a great plot point, but one I wish would have been developed a bit more. I found the mystery to be truly puzzling, never knowing just whodunit. Romance finds its way into the story, as well, as Dean and the first victim’s ex-wife connect. The author explores the issue of forgiveness and the healing it can bring even when we choose to forgive those who can’t or won’t say they are sorry. There were a couple of things I found a bit convenient to the plot that probably wouldn’t really occur with real police work, but they didn’t detract from the overall storyline.

If you like police-based mysteries with a thoughtful faith message, then check out Fatal Fraternity.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to the author for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

First Line Friday — Undercut by Heather Day Gilbert

2 Mar

Every Friday bloggers are posting the first lines (or 2 or 3, hee hee) of the book closest to them — First Line Friday! I’ve had so much fun discovering new books and authors through this weekly meme. To join in, all you have to do is grab the nearest book, post its first sentence in the comments of this post, and then head on over to Hoarding Books to discover more great first lines. Now, we are very flexible in this, so if another line grabs your fancy, by all means share that one (or 2 or 3! 😉 ). The more the merrier with books!

 

This week, my first line comes from the very talented mystery author, Heather Day Gilbert and her novella Undercut, the second installment in the Hemlock Creek Suspense series.

 

Marine sniper Isaiah (“Zane”) Boone is home from Afghanistan with more than a few ghosts. Try as he might to settle back into civilian life in small-town West Virginia, he can’t escape the conviction he’s being followed. Both Zane’s ex-wife and his psychologist claim he’s paranoid, and he can’t prove he’s not. Hoping to outrun his misery, he sets his romantic sights on the irresistible Molly McClure. A successful wedding coordinator at the illustrious Greenbrier Resort, Molly has had plenty of wealthy men willing to open their wallets and hearts for her. But when Zane strides into the upscale Greenbrier lobby with his lumberjack boots and his troubled eyes, the attraction she’s felt since high school reawakens — and she’s willing to go way out of her comfort zone to pursue it. When Molly becomes an innocent target, Zane realizes too late that his malevolent stalkers are very real. As a net of vengeance tightens around them, Zane gears up for a fight to the death…and Molly has just one chance to prove she can be far more than a pretty face. Book 2 in the Hemlock Creek Suspense series by Grace award-winning, INSPY-longlist nominated author Heather Day Gilbert.

To purchase, click HERE. (It’s only $2.99 on Kindle!)

Heather Day Gilbert, a Grace Award winner and bestselling author, writes novels that capture life in all its messy, bittersweet, hope-filled glory. Born and raised in the West Virginia mountains, generational story-telling runs in her blood. Heather writes Viking historicals and contemporary mystery/suspense. Publisher’s Weekly gave Heather’s Viking historical Forest Child a starred review, saying it is “an engaging story depicting timeless human struggles with faith, love, loyalty, and leadership.”

Find Heather on Pinterest (heatherdgilbert), Instagram (@heatherdaygilbert), Twitter (@heatherdgilbert), and Facebook (heatherdaygilbert). You can find all her books at heatherdaygilbert.com.

Top 10 Tuesday — How Could I Forget?!

23 Jan

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is books I liked, but can’t remember what they are about. When I saw this title I smugly thought, I can remember all the books I’ve read! Yeah, right! I began by looking at my book club’s list of past selections. Over the past 15 years we have read some excellent books, all I thought still held a special place in my memory. That would be a no. Given a bit of prompting, I remember the gist. But character names, plot essentials? Well, I’ll credit my lapse to the hundreds of books I have read in between now and then. That’s my story and I am sticking with it!

On a side note, back in the day we read a lot of women’s and Southern fiction. A lot of our time now is spent with high-octane suspense. Not sure what that says about my book club. Hmm.

For other bloggers’ forgettable books, click HERE.

 

Books I Forgot I Liked! 😉

 

Coffee Rings by Yvonne Lehman

They met in college, three young women with unstoppable dreams-until one tragic event pulled them in separate directions. Nineteen years later, they each find themselves living back in Laurel Ridge, North Carolina,and covering their deeply held pain with genteel social behavior. Annette is widowed and running a coffee shop. Ruby is married to a minister and raising three children. Lara is divorced and managing a women’s boutique. When their long-held secrets surface, how will they hold the fragile pieces of their lives together? Are the stains of the past too deeply imbedded for true forgiveness to occur?

Fallen Angels by Patricia Hickman

The award-winning author of Sandpebbles presents the first installment in the Millwood Hollow series about an unlikely hero and a trio of abandoned siblings struggling for survival in the South during the Great Depression.

Grace at Bender Springs by Vinita Hampton Wright

This critically-acclaimed literary novel set in the small, worn-out town of Bender Springs, Kansas boasts an intricately detailed plot with a variety of character types that give every reader someone with which to identify.

 

 

Hot Flashes And Cold Cream by DiAnn Hunt

An eccentric best friend, a leaky Chihuahua, a teenager in trouble, and a workaholic husband with a gorgeous new colleague. Those are the ingredients for Diann Hunt’s wise and funny story about growing . . . well, older . . . with grace.

Jamaican Me Crazy by Debbie DiGiovanni

When putting together another “perfect” Christmas is just too much, the women of Lakeside Baptist Church rebel (as much as Baptists can) and buy six tickets to Jamaica. Trading their to-dos and grocery lists for sunscreen and flip-flops, the ladies think they’re going to have the time of their lives. Only their sunny holiday turns out to be more than they bargained for and they get cold reality, sans sugarplums, for Christmas. A great escape for those snowy, gray December days, Jamaican Me Crazy is just what the doctor ordered. Christian women who dig friendship fiction like The Potluck Club will love this exciting tale of a Caribbean Christmas gone crazy.

Like a Watered Garden by Patti Hill

Mibby Garrett walks through grief as if feeling her way through an unfamiliar room on a moonless night. She’s been unable to get her life back on track after losing her husband in a bicycle accident. Owner and operator of Perennially Yours Garden Design and mother to twelve-year-old Ky, Mibby struggles to keep her “boat tied to the dock” as she avoids reminders of her husband and their former life. A new garden design project, the puzzling case of dying rosebushes, and a mysterious young stranger bring Mibby out of her fog. Has God answered her prayers in the most unexpected way?

Love The Sinner by Lynn Bulock

When her philandering, con-artist husband is murdered, full-figured Gracie Lee Harris, with the help of God and some newfound friends, wades through a wealth of suspects — all women he scorned and cheated — to catch a killer.

 

Mercy Me by Margaret Graham

Down-to-earth, feisty southern widow Esmeralda counsels her best friend and the women’s Sunday School class while rallying the petty Apostolic Bible Church women to assist an impoverished mother with AIDS.

Passing by Samaria by Sharon Ewell Foster

The date is 1919 — a time of unrest and drastic change. For Alena, though, life in Mississippi is perfect, and she prays she will never leave her home. That prayer is shattered when she makes a horrible discovery – -a discovery that leads her to challenge all she believes. Against the backdrop of the Great Migration, from a quiet, country setting, Alena is catapulted to Chicago, the “city of broad shoulders.” There, amidst riots, misplaced love, and post-war confusion, the outspoken young woman struggles to find herself and the one true thing that will save her. 

The Town That Came A-Courtin’ by Rhonda Rich

Leaving behind the disappointments and romantic upheaval that marked her life in her hometown of Dexter, Georgia, Abby Houston finds success as a best-selling author and warm-hearted acceptance from the residents of Bliss, Mississippi.

 

 

Have you read any of these books?

If not, have I peaked your interest?

Top 10 Tuesday — Books I Should Have Read in 2017

9 Jan

So many books, so little time . . . . That should have been my motto in 2017. Like a child who fills her plate with more than she can eat, I filled my bookshelves with more books than I could read. Am I complaining? Not really. I am a cock-eyed optimist when it comes to books — I am sure that I will one day get all the books stacked around my home read. But for now I give you the Top 10 Books I Didn’t Read in 2017. This is a list of my reading regrets. And I intend to get them read soon. Which one should I start with first?

For other bloggers’ reading regrets, head over to The Broke And The Bookish.

 

Top 10 Books I Didn’t Read in 2017

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason

Death at Thorburn Hall by Julianna Deering

Egypt’s Sister by Angela Hunt

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Justice Buried by Patricia Bradley

The Legacy by Michael Phillips 

Mark of The King by Jocelyn Green

Maybe It’s You by Candace Calvert

Portrait of Vengeance by Carrie Stuart Parks

Threads of Suspicion by Dee Henderson

Which book should I read first?