Tag Archives: mystery fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Unusual Crime-Solving Professions

1 Aug

IYears ago I read G.K. Chesterton’s collection of short stories entitled The Club of Queer Trades. It was fun reading. Here’s the blurb from Amazon:

(For Amazon) British writers have long enjoyed inventing preposterous clubs with eccentric members, unusual qualifications for membership and zany rules of behavior. The brilliant and gifted G. K. Chesterton was no exception, and the entertaining short stories in this volume revolve around just such an institution. In The Club of Queer Trades, candidates qualify for admission by creating a thoroughly original profession and proving they can make a living from it.

Six marvelously funny episodes with improbable plots are made especially pleasurable through Chesterton’s vivid descriptions of late Victorian London, sly pokes at the legal system, and a characteristic gift for delicious nonsense. In each story, a bizarre crime — such as kidnapping of a respected clergyman in “The Awful Reason of the Vicar’s Visit” — seems in the process of being committed. Actually, the events are all frenzied activities traceable to club members or would-be members. Here are intriguing tales of a little old lady imprisoned in a gloomy private dungeon; of prim and proper matrons bent on committing evil deeds; of a former British army officer and his extremely unusual residence; and a host of other incredible characters and situations.

This book got me thinking of all the mystery and suspense I read, and the many jobs the main characters have. There are plenty of FBI agents, US Marshals, and other law enforcement types, plus doctors, lawyers, PIs, bodyguards, etc., who get in on the action. But what about the unassuming amateurs or even the little known professionals that solve crimes, at least fictional crimes? So for this Top Ten Tuesday I’ve compiled a list of my own queer trades.

Top Crime-Solving Professions

 

Advice Columnist — Josephine Tulip (Mindy Starns Clark)

Josephine Tulip is definitely a smart chick, a twenty-first century female MacGyver who writes a helpful hints column and solves mysteries in her spare time. Her best friend, Danny, is a talented photographer who longs to succeed in his career…perhaps a cover photo on National Geographic?

When Jo’s next-door neighbor is accused of murder, Jo realizes the police have the wrong suspect. As she and Danny analyze clues, follow up on leads, and fall in and out of trouble, she recovers from a broken heart and he discovers that he has feelings for her. Will Danny have the courage to reveal them, or will he continue to hide them behind a façade of friendship?

Bailiff — Hugh de Singleton (Mel Starr)

Some valuable books have been stolen from Master John Wyclif, the well known scholar and Bible translator. He calls upon his friend and former pupil, Hugh de Singleton, to investigate. Hugh’s investigation leads him to Oxford where he again encounters Kate, the only woman who has tempted him to leave bachelor life behind, but Kate has another serious suitor. As Hugh’s pursuit of Kate becomes more successful, mysterious accidents begin to occur. Are these accidents tied to the missing books, or to his pursuit of Kate?

One of the stolen books turns up alongside the drowned body of a poor Oxford scholar. Another accident? Hugh certainly doesn’t think so, but it will take all of his surgeon’s skills to prove.

Church Secretary — Cindy Preston (Debbie Viguie)

Cindy and Jeremiah come from two different worlds, even though they work right next door to each other. Cindy is a strong Christian who lives a normal but somewhat dull life, working as a church secretary. Jeremiah is a Reformed rabbi with a mysterious past full of danger and excitement. But one eventful Easter/Passover week, the two find themselves working together to solve a murder and stop a serial killer from striking again. Solving the mystery should put an end to their alliance, but the church secretary and the rabbi quickly find themselves enmeshed in another mystery. Soon the two form a friendly alliance and friendship, exploring personal history and faith and growing closer with each passing adventure. Despite their differences Cindy and Jeremiah find a lot of common ground.

Crime Scene Cleaner — Gabby St. Claire (Christy Barritt)

Gabby St. Claire dropped out of school on her way to completing a degree in forensic science. Instead, she did the next best thing: she started her own crime scene cleaning business. When a routine cleaning job uncovers a murder weapon the police overlooked, she realizes that the wrong person is in jail. But the owner of the weapon is willing to do anything to keep Gabby quiet. With the help of her neighbor, Riley Thomas, Gabby plays detective. But can Riley help her before another murder occurs?

 

 

English Teacher — Amelia Prentice (E. E. Kennedy)

Amelia Prentice, a forty-something high school English teacher comfortable in her predictable routine, regains consciousness after tripping over the corpse of a former student in the safest of places, the public library. Returning to the classroom, she tries to pretend nothing happened. But when it becomes obvious that the victim’s death wasn’t an accident and she is now a murder suspect, she realizes that her cozy small-town life in New York’s Adirondack region will never be the same.
 
Crazy things begin to happen: The victim’s mother disappears. Amelia’s friend Lily is thrown overboard from the Lake Champlain ferryboat. A mysterious millionaire from Montreal seems determined to buy Amelia’s house. The school nurse is viciously attacked by a student. Amelia’s old beau Gil suddenly seems determined to rekindle their romance. Amelia is carjacked, and of course, there’s the Lake Champlain Monster . . . 
 
It will take all Amelia’s wisdom, humor, and faith to figure out what’s going on and embrace the new life that lies ahead. If she survives.

Forensic Artist — Gwen Marcy (Carrie Stuart Parks)

In 1857, a wagon train in Utah was assaulted by a group of militant Mormons calling themselves the Avenging Angels. One hundred and forty people were murdered, including unarmed men, women, and children. The Mountain Meadows Massacre remains controversial to this day–but the truth may be written on the skulls of the victims.
When renowned forensic artist Gwen Marcey is recruited to reconstruct the faces of recently unearthed victims at Mountain Meadows, she isn’t expecting more than an interesting gig . . . and a break from her own hectic life.

But when Gwen stumbles on the ritualized murder of a young college student, her work on the massacre takes on a terrifying new aspect, and research quickly becomes a race against modern-day fundamentalist terror.
As evidence of a cover-up mounts–a cover-up spanning the entire history of the Mormon church–Gwen finds herself in the crosshairs of a secret society bent on fulfilling prophecy and revenging old wrongs.

Can a forensic artist reconstruct two centuries of suppressed history . . . before it repeats itself?

In A Cry from the Dust, Carrie Stuart Parks utilizes her own background as a celebrated, FBI-trained forensic artist to blend fact and fiction into a stunning mystery.

Housewife — Tess Spenser (Heather Day Gilbert)

Child of the Appalachian mountains, Tess Spencer has experienced more than her share of heartache. The Glock-wielding, knife-carrying housewife knows how to survive whatever life throws at her. But when an anonymous warning note shows up in her best friend Miranda’s mailbox — a note written in a dead woman’s handwriting — Tess quickly discovers that ghosts are alive and well in Buckneck, West Virginia. Hot on a cold trail, she must use limited clues and her keen insight into human nature to unmask the killer…or the next victim might be Tess herself. Tinged with the supernatural and overshadowed by the mountains’ lush, protective presence, this twisting psychological mystery is the first in A Murder in the Mountains series.

Limo Driver — Andi McConnell (Lorena McCourtney)

Downsized from her job.
Dumped by her boyfriend.
Depressed about that upcoming 6-0 birthday.
Not a good week for Andi McConnell.

But now there’s good news: She’s just inherited a limousine, a long, sleek, black limousine, from an eccentric uncle.

There’s also bad news: The dead body that soon turns up in the trunk. And Andi is the top suspect in the murder.

Enter Keegan “Fitz” Fitzpatrick, former TV detective, very interested in the case – and in Andi. As they work together to solve the crime, a big question looms: when the bullets start flying, are the windows in Andi’s limo really bullet proof?

Night Watchman — Ray Quinn (Mark Mynhier)

Eleven months ago, Ray Quinn was a tough, quick-witted Orlando homicide detective at the top of his game–until a barrage of bullets ended his career…and his partner’ s life.

Now medically retired with a painful handicap, Ray battles the haunting guilt for his partner’s death. Numbing the pain with alcohol and attitude, Ray takes a job as a night watchman at a swanky Orlando condo.

But when a pastor and an exotic dancer are found dead in one of the condos in an apparent murder-suicide, Ray can no longer linger in the shadows. The pastor’s sister is convinced her brother was framed and begs Ray to take on an impossible case — to challenge the evidence and clear her brother’s name.

Ray reluctantly pulls the threads of this supposedly dead-end case only to unravel a murder investigation so deep that it threatens to turn the Orlando political landscape upside down and transform old friends into new enemies. As Ray chases down leads and interrogates suspects, someone is watching his every move, someone determined to keep him from ever finding out the truth — at any cost.

Nun — Sister Evangeline Devine (Lynne Hinton)

Sister Eve knows God moves in mysterious ways. And Eve adores a good mystery. Especially a murder.

Two decades into her calling at a New Mexico monastery, Sister Evangeline Divine breaks her daily routine when a police officer appears, carrying a message from her father. Sister Eve is no stranger to the law, having grown up with a police captain turned private detective. She’s seen her fair share of crime―and knows a thing or two about solving mysteries.

But when Captain Jackson Divine needs her to return home and help him recover from surgery, Sister Eve finds herself taking on his latest case.

A Hollywood director has disappeared, and the sultry starlet he’s been running around with isn’t talking. When the missing man turns up dead, Captain Divine’s case escalates into a full-blown murder case, and Sister Eve’s crime-solving instincts kick in with an almost God-given grace.

Soon Sister Eve finds herself soul-searching every step of the way: How can she choose between the vocation in her heart and the job in her blood?

Recovery Specialist — Landry Parker and Nickolai Baptiste (Robin Caroll)

Former Army MP Landry Parker fell into the recovery specialist role quite by accident — to help her ailing father. Now that she’s on her own, she is determined to prove herself and honor her family legacy.

After being shot in the line of duty, former police officer Nickolai Baptiste became a recovery specialist, and he’s good at his job — maybe even the best.
           
A potential client pits Landry and Nickolai against one another to find the Dutchman’s Lost Gold Mine map that was stolen from her murdered husband, and the potential payday is too enticing to pass up. The trail takes them from New Orleans to Weaver’s Needle in Arizona where legend claims the mine is hidden. Landry and Nickolai are no strangers to adventure, but the unlikely partners quickly discover there’s someone after the treasure and there are those who want to ensure the lost mine in Arizona’s Superstition Mountain stays lost forever.

Can Landry and Nickolai work together despite their distrust of each other to save the legend before more innocent lives are lost? Will they find the real treasure isn’t the gold, but something more valuable . . . true love and understanding?

What do you do?

Could you solve mysteries too?

 

 

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer Reading Lists

18 Jul

When my children were in High School they had summer reading assignments. I was all —  I wish we had that when I was in school! They were all — meh! LOL! The problem really wasn’t that they were expected to read; I had made forced urged them to do that every summer of their school years. It was more the books that were on the list.

Summer is about to close for kids here in middle Georgia. My home county’s schools start in just 3 short weeks. At this point, my children would just now be cracking open their assigned books. And I would be threatening urging them to get to it. Would it have been different if I could have created the list with books that are entertaining, suspenseful, full of action and passion?  I like to think so.

So here are the books I would put on a summer reading list for High School-aged kids. My list is a mix of Classics and Christian fiction. What do you think?

Top Books for Summer Reading

American History — The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

“My favorite historical novel . . . a superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant.”—James M. McPherson
 
In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize – winning masterpiece is unique, sweeping, unforgettable — the dramatic story of the battleground for America’s destiny.

American Literature — A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century.

From the moment she entered the world, Francie needed to be made of stern stuff, for the often harsh life of Williamsburg demanded fortitude, precocity, and strength of spirit. Often scorned by neighbors for her family’s erratic and eccentric behavior-such as her father Johnny’s taste for alcohol and Aunt Sissy’s habit of marrying serially without the formality of divorce-no one, least of all Francie, could say that the Nolans’ life lacked drama. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the Nolans’ daily experiences are tenderly threaded with family connectedness and raw with honesty. Betty Smith has, in the pages of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, captured the joys of humble Williamsburg life-from “junk day” on Saturdays, when the children of Francie’s neighborhood traded their weekly take for pennies, to the special excitement of holidays, bringing cause for celebration and revelry. Betty Smith has artfully caught this sense of exciting life in a novel of childhood, replete with incredibly rich moments of universal experiences — a truly remarkable achievement for any writer.

British History — The Daughter of Time by Josephine Tey

“One of the best mysteries of all time” (The New York Times)—Josephine Tey recreates one of history’s most famous — and vicious —crimes in her classic bestselling novel, a must read for connoisseurs of fiction, now with a new introduction by Robert Barnard.

Inspector Alan Grant of Scotland Yard, recuperating from a broken leg, becomes fascinated with a contemporary portrait of Richard III that bears no resemblance to the Wicked Uncle of history. Could such a sensitive, noble face actually belong to one of the world’s most heinous villains—a venomous hunchback who may have killed his brother’s children to make his crown secure? Or could Richard have been the victim, turned into a monster by the usurpers of England’s throne? Grant determines to find out once and for all, with the help of the British Museum and an American scholar, what kind of man Richard Plantagenet really was and who killed the Little Princes in the Tower.

The Daughter of Time is an ingeniously plotted, beautifully written, and suspenseful tale, a supreme achievement from one of mystery writing’s most gifted masters.

British Literature — The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

The novel that T. S. Eliot called “the first, the longest, and the best of the modern English detective novels”

Guarded by three Brahmin priests, the Moonstone is a religious relic, the centerpiece in a sacred statue of the Hindu god of the moon. It is also a giant yellow diamond of enormous value, and its temptation is irresistible to the corrupt John Herncastle, a colonel in the British Army in India. After murdering the three guardian priests and bringing the diamond back to England with him, Herncastle bequeaths it to his niece, Rachel, knowing full well that danger will follow. True to its enigmatic nature, the Moonstone disappears from Rachel’s room on the night of her eighteenth birthday, igniting a mystery so intricate and thrilling it has set the standard for every crime novel of the past one hundred fifty years.

Widely recognized, alongside the stories of Edgar Allan Poe, as establishing many of the most enduring conventions of detective fiction, The Moonstone is Wilkie Collins’s masterwork and one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century.

Current Events — The Beloved Daughter by Alana Terry

In a small North Korean village, a young girl struggles to survive. Catastrophic floods have ravaged her countryside. But it is her father’s faith, not the famine of North Hamyong Province, that most threatens Chung-Cha’s well-being. Is Chung-Cha’s father right to be such a vocal believer? Or is he a fool to bring danger on the head of his only daughter? Chung-Cha is only a girl of twelve and is too young to answer such questions. Yet, she is not too young to face a life of imprisonment and forced labor. Her crime? Being the daughter of a political dissident.

The Beloved Daughter follows Chung-Cha into one of the most notorious prison camps the contemporary free world has known. Will Chung-Cha survive the horrors of Camp 22? And if she does survive, will her faith remain intact?

The Beloved Daughter is Alana Terry’s debut Christian novel and has won awards from Readers’ Favorite, Grace Awards, Women of Faith, The Book Club Network, and others.

Philosophy — The Great Divorce by C. S. Lewis

C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce is a classic Christian allegorical tale about a bus ride from hell to heaven. An extraordinary meditation upon good and evil, grace and judgment, Lewis’s revolutionary idea in the The Great Divorce is that the gates of Hell are locked from the inside. Using his extraordinary descriptive powers, Lewis’ The Great Divorce will change the way we think about good and evil.

 

 

 

Physics — The Skin Map by Stephen Lawhead

It is the ultimate quest for the ultimate treasure. Chasing a map tattooed on human skin. Across an omniverse of intersecting realities. To unravel the future of the future.

Kit Livingstone’s great-grandfather appears to him in a deserted alley during a tumultuous storm. He reveals an unbelievable story: that the ley lines throughout Britain are not merely the stuff of legend or the weekend hobby of deluded cranks, but pathways to other worlds. To those who know how to use them, they grant the ability to travel the multi-layered universe of which we ordinarily inhabit only a tiny part.

One explorer knew more than most. Braving every danger, he toured both time and space on voyages of heroic discovery. Ever on his guard and fearful of becoming lost in the cosmos, he developed an intricate code—a roadmap of symbols—that he tattooed onto his own body. This Skin Map has since been lost in time. Now the race is on to recover all the pieces and discover its secrets.

But the Skin Map itself is not the ultimate goal. It is merely the beginning of a vast and marvelous quest for a prize beyond imagining.

The Bright Empires series—from acclaimed author Stephen R. Lawhead—is a unique blend of epic treasure hunt, ancient history, alternate realities, cutting-edge physics, philosophy, and mystery. The result is a page-turning, adventure like no other.

Psychology — Strangers on A Train by Patricia Highsmith

“For eliciting the menace that lurks in familiar surroundings, there’s no one like Patricia Highsmith.” ―Time

The world of Patricia Highsmith has always been filled with ordinary people, all of whom are capable of very ordinary crimes. This theme was present from the beginning, when her debut, Strangers on a Train, galvanized the reading public. Here we encounter Guy Haines and Charles Anthony Bruno, passengers on the same train. But while Guy is a successful architect in the midst of a divorce, Bruno turns out to be a sadistic psychopath who manipulates Guy into swapping murders with him. “Some people are better off dead,” Bruno remarks, “like your wife and my father, for instance.” As Bruno carries out his twisted plan, Guy is trapped in Highsmith’s perilous world, where, under the right circumstances, anybody is capable of murder.

The inspiration for Alfred Hitchcock’s classic 1951 film, Strangers on a Train launched Highsmith on a prolific career of noir fiction, proving her a master at depicting the unsettling forces that tremble beneath the surface of everyday contemporary life.

World History — Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton

A work of searing beauty, Cry, the Beloved Country is the deeply moving story of Stephen Kumalo, a Zulu pastor, and his son, Absalom. It is also the story of a land and a people riven by racial injustice, reflecting the troubled and changing South Africa of the 1940s. The book is written with such keen compassion and understanding that the listener shares fully in the gravity of the characters situations. Alan Paton said of his book: “It is a song of love for one’s far distant country….” Thus, it is a tale that is passionately African while also being timeless and universal. But ultimately, Cry, the Beloved Country is a work of love and hope, of courage and tragedy, born of the dignity of man.

All School Read — The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Set against the turbulent years of the Napoleonic  era, Alexandre Dumas’s thrilling adventure story  is one of the most widely read romantic novels of  all time. In it the dashing young hero, Edmond  Dantès, is betrayed by his enemies and thrown  into a secret dungeon in the Chateau d’If — doomed  to spend his life in a dank prison cell. The story  of his long, intolerable years in captivity, his  miraculous escape, and his carefully wrought  revenge creates a dramatic tale of mystery and intrigue  and paints a vision of France — a dazzling,  dueling, exuberant France — that has become immortal.  

 

 

What books would you include on a Summer Reading List?

Top 10 Tuesday: Series I Need to Finish!

20 Jun

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish want to know what book series bloggers want to start. Well, before I can start a new series, I need to complete some first. Oh, who am I kidding? Having uncompleted series won’t keep me from starting new ones, but they will weigh heavily on my mind. LOL! To find out what book series other bloggers long to begin, click HERE.

 

Because I have many books on my shelves that regularly whisper (or shout) Read Me!, I thought I would share those series I began in earnest, but have been a slacker in completing. I share these partly to find out from you which one I should be reading and partly to shame myself into reading those long neglected books. So here they are.

Top Book Series I Need to Finish

 

The Darkwater Saga by Patrick Carr

 

Drew Farthering Mystery series by Juliana Deering

 

The Martyr’s Song series by Ted Dekker

 

 

Sophie Trace Trilogy by Kathy Herman

 

 

Secrets of The Shetlands series by Michael Phillips

 

Which series would you finish first?

 

 

 

Audiobook Review (+ Giveaway!): Kill And Run

19 Jun

 

Five women with seemingly nothing in common are found brutally murdered in a townhome outside Washington, DC. Among the many questions surrounding the massacre is what had brought these apparent strangers together only to be killed.

Taking on his first official murder case, Lieutenant Murphy Thornton, USN, believes that if he can uncover the thread connecting the victims, then he can find their murderer.

Before long, the case takes an unexpected turn when Murphy discovers that one of the victims has a connection to his stepmother, Homicide Detective Cameron Gates. One wintry night, over a dozen years before, her first husband, a Pennsylvania State trooper, had been run down while working a night shift on the turnpike.

In this first installment of the Thorny Rose Mysteries, the Lovers in Crime join newlyweds Lieutenant Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday to sift through a web of lies and cover-ups. Together, can the detectives of the Thorny Rose uncover the truth without falling victim to a cunning killer?

 

Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns!

Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr’s seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with LaurenWebsite  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook

 

C.J. McAllister (narrator) is an Audible Approved Producer — “Audible Approved producers are the best audiobook producers in the business.” Only a small number are awarded this honor.

C.J. has produced best-selling audiobooks in multiple genres/styles, TV commercials/promo teasers, animation projects, interviews (TV and radio), corporate presentations.

 

 

My Impressions:

Combine the fast-paced action of a political thriller with the elements of a police procedural, then add a healthy dose of humor and big personalities of a cozy mystery, and you get the first book in Lauren Carr’s Thorny Rose mystery series, Kill And Run. Set within the District of Columbia within the halls of the highest military leaders, this novel will appeal to die-hard mystery fans. I found the characters engaging, the writing well-done, and the mystery puzzling indeed. I did have a few suspicions that played out within the pages of the book, but Carr added a few surprises I didn’t see coming. All in all, this one is a very satisfying mystery read.

Newlyweds Jessica and Murphy have settled into a familiar routine that, while not exactly conventional, works for them. But murders past and present put them both on the firing line. They, along with members of their family, dig deep into murders of five women with the Army as their only connection. With threats within and without the military complex coming at them, they are determined not to be deterred from discovering and bringing to justice those who are guilty.

With its D.C. setting, Kill And Run has a great political feel. Readers will love the behind-the-scene glimpse into the workings of the Pentagon. The secret (and fictional?) Phantom team lends a cloak and dagger element that I loved. There are plenty of shady characters to deal with, and the reader needs to pay close attention to keep up with the tangled web of threads connecting them. Corruption abounds at the highest levels, and the Russian mob is involved! Murphy and Jessica are extremely likable, as are the minor characters that fans of Carr will recognize. But if this is your first foray into Carr’s crime stories, don’t worry. I jumped right into this newest novel and series with no confusion. The narrator does a great job of bringing the story and its characters to life.

Kill And Run is a fun addition to any mystery library. Please note: this book is not Christian fiction, but targeted to the general reading audience. Make sure to read the content rating below.

Content Rating: Kill And Run is rated PG-13 and contains murder scenes. There is also violence associated with military assignments. The book contains sex scenes which are not overtly explicit. There is a little profanity.

Recommended.

Audience: adults (see content rating above)

To purchase the audiobook, click HERE.

(Thanks to iRead Book Tours for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

 

Giveaway!

One winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift card! (open internationally). Click on the link below to enter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/defcd44e276/?

Top 10 Tuesday — Summer Reading!

23 May

Summer is upon us, although here in the sunny South, we have had temps in the 90s for a few weeks now! When the weather is hot do you prefer a sizzling romance, a suspense-filled mystery, a riveting historical, or thoughtful literary fiction? All of the above? Me too! I love to read across all genres, and summer is a great time to abandon yourself in a good book. The folks at The Broke And The Bookish are hosting Summer Reads this week in their Top 10 Tuesday. Find out what other bloggers are packing in their weekender and beach totes HERE.

 

This week’s list is a mixture of books I’ve read that would be good take-alongs on your summer adventures and books that I will be reading this summer. More than 10? Maybe! LOL! But it’s summer. Indulge!

Top 10 Books for Summer Reading

 

What I’ve Read

If I Run/If I’m Found by Terri Blackstock (suspense)

Long Way Gone by Charles Martin (literary fiction)

The Promise of Jesse Woods by Chris Fabry (literary fiction)

Vendetta/Missing/Pursued by Lisa Harris (suspense)

The Wood’s Edge by Lori Benton (historical)

What I’ll Be Reading

Chasing Secrets by Lynette Eason (romantic suspense)

Deep Extraction by DiAnn Mills (romantic suspense)

Driver Confessional by David L. Winters (political thriller)

The One True Love of Alice-Ann by Eva Marie Everson (historical romance)

Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett (historical fiction)

The Runaway by Claire Wong (mystery)

Sailing out of Darkness by Normandie Fischer (women’s fiction)

True to You by Becky Wade (contemporary romance)

With You Always by Jody Hedlund (historical romance)

What will you read this summer?

Book Review: Exit Katrina

4 May

Weeks after Hurricane Katrina, Kate Mitchell’s husband, Daniel, is still missing. He had not arrived back in Missouri on his scheduled flight after attending an industry conference in New Orleans the week before the hurricane. Hundreds of miles away, one of the thousands of Katrina refugees settles in a small town in Tennessee. Quiet and unassuming, he slowly gains the trust and acceptance of Maggie, a recent widow who accepts his reserve as reasonable because of the loss of his family. Why then is he furtively accessing Kate’s blog? When New Orleans police and the FBI make little progress, Kate begins her own search. But the devastated city is dangerous and does not give up its secrets easily. Her perplexing discoveries make little sense until she finds herself asking the unthinkable . . . did my husband walk away from his life?

 

 

Chris Link lives in the Ozarks with his wife of 33 years and their horses and dogs. They have one grown son. Chris has been a voracious reader for most of his life, enjoying books of many genres, both fiction and nonfiction. His favorite books influence people to live differently, to be aware, perceptive and appreciative, to risk love in all circumstances.

Chris’ debut novel, Exit Katrina, draws from his love of reading, life experiences, his faith in God, and a story that once considered, would not leave him alone.

When not reading and writing, Chris enjoys teaching and consulting with people in their careers, hiking and photography, playing and listening to music, and riding his motorcycle. He is always looking forward to the next adventure and the next idea that refuses to be dismissed.

 

My Impressions:

Exit Katrina is the debut novel of R. Chris Link inspired by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. A mystery unfolds around the disappearance of a man who was attending a conference in the days leading up to the storm. With little to go on, his wife embarks on an investigation to discover what happened. Meanwhile, a mysterious refugee from the hurricane has landed in a small town in Tennessee. A man with little interest in God, Jonas becomes a part of the community while maintaining secrecy about his past life.

Link maintains the mystery throughout the novel, making the the reader speculate as to what the truth really is. Twists and turns abound, and you can never be sure whom to trust. The book had a bit more tell than show than I would have liked and lagged a bit, but the premise of the book is good. There is a strong faith message throughout. I liked many of the characters, especially Maggie and Jimmy Dean. Main character Jonas definitely is a mystery man, but one who shows true heroism.

While I found this just an okay read, Exit Katrina has a number of 4 and 5-star reviews on Amazon. Make sure to check those out.

Audience: adults.

To purchase this book, click HERE.

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

 

Author Interview: Judith Rolfs

6 Mar

http://www.judithrolfs.com/
This week we have a special treat! Author Judith Rolfs has been published in every genre. As an author and professional marriage and family counselor, Judith focuses on motivating people to live their best lives – emotionally, physically and spiritually. In her thirties, she researched the complexity of the natural world and moved from agnosticism to faith in God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Today, she talks about her latest novel, Never Tomorrow.

Tell our readers about your new mystery novel Never Tomorrow.

Thanks for asking. It’s like having a new baby – I welcome a chance to talk about Never Tomorrow after literally years in the writing. This is a powerful murder mystery, plus more – a psychological thriller that probes the marriage relationship, infidelity and forgiveness. I use my insights and experiences as a psychotherapist for three decades to instill deep emotions in my characters– the grieving, the loves, and the deep joys, that we all experience in real life. These are integrated with a compelling murder mystery.


This is your seventeenth book but only your third mystery novel. Tell us about your switch to fiction from non-fiction.

My previous books were how-to books about marriage and parenting and family issues, also a devotional and a teen book. Mysteries are a huge change. They are much more difficult to write, but seem to have a greater impact on readers.


Which leads to my next question. I understand your slogan is Mysteries With A Message. Explain please.

My mysteries center on real life family issues while keeping the suspense steaming. Directive 99, my first self- suspense novel is about conflict between a woman’s career vs. family priorities. She makes major life changes when her husband is kidnapped. My next mystery novel Bullet in the Night with Prism Books is about genuine rehabilitation leading to life change and the value of nurturing friendships. I want readers to have a takeaway to ponder that can help them face situations in their own lives with more wisdom and confidence.

Tell us about where you like to write and a bit about your process.

My favorite writing places are my cottage in the woods in Fontana-on-Geneva Lake and a winter beach condo we rent in Venice, FL. I need solitude to create the story and develop my characters, but then I love to edit in coffee shops where I’m immersed in the energy of people. Relationships have always been fascinating to me, which is why I became a psychotherapist. Of course it’s helpful as an author to develop well-rounded characters. I also love to travel. In fact, Never Tomorrow starts out in Ballybunion, Ireland which I researched during a three-week trip there.

How and when did your writing career begin?

My writing career began at age ten creating stories for neighborhood children. I wrote newspaper editorials in high school, and was part of the Superior Student program at Marquette University, which published me in their literary journal. I love everything about writing especially contact with readers and other authors who are so gracious! I recently met Pat Gussin, New York Times Best Selling Author of After the Fall and she offered to read Never Tomorrow prior to publication. She blessed me with an amazing review: “Layer upon layer of intrigue—laced with murder–propels this novel to the pinnacle of suspense. An ingenious plot, dynamic and complex characters, and an insight into the troubled avenues of human behavior rarely exposed make NEVER TOMORROW a stand-out for readers of mysteries, thrillers, and suspense.”

In closing, where can we find your new book baby?

Never Tomorrow is available through Prism Book Group, on Amazon and Barnes & Noble and through local libraries. If it’s not at the local library I hope readers will request it. Thank you for featuring me on your blog. It’s been a pleasure.

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Visit Judith at http://judithrolfs.com/Dr._Judith_Rolfs/Home.html

 

A compelling mystery with a powerful theme of forgiveness and healing…

Journalist Whitney Barnes investigates the mysterious death of her mother and
three women from Cortland City seeking the thread that links them to an
enigmatic killer. Why are women being murdered with no apparent motives
for their death? Police are mystified at the lack of clues and a growing
sense of fear surrounds the community. Who will be the next victim?

Determined to find the killer, Whitney discovers these women were dealing with
wounds from their troubling pasts, but what was their connection? She
teams up with Dr. Sarah Stevens, an expert on women’s issues, to ferret
out information while TV talk show host Rich and real estate broker
Jordan vie for Whitney’s affection.

Whitney discovers new strength within her, but is it powerful enough to cope with this dark force of evil? Suspense escalates as Whitney becomes the killer’s next target.