Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: Dark Places: A Red River Mystery (Red River Mystery #5) by Reavis Z. Wortham

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 565 KB
  • Print Length: 349 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press; 1 edition (Sept. 1 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0128OO5OC

About the Book

 At the tail end of 1967, the Parker family once again finds it impossible to hide from a world spinning out of control. Fourteen-year-old Top still can't fit in with their Center Springs, Texas, community or forget recent, vicious crimes. His near-twin cousin Pepper, desperate to escape her own demons, rashly joins the Flower Children flocking to California—just as two businessmen are kidnapped and murdered in the Red River bottoms on the same night a deadly hit and run kills a farmer. Constable Ned Parker wonders if these crimes are connected, but he goes after Pepper, leaving the investigation in the hands of Sheriff Cody Parker. Parker hires Deputy Anna Sloan, an investigator with an eye toward detail as everyone is eyeing her. Yet it is instinct that propels her after killers through a world nearly forgotten, the hunt’s backdrop one of continuous rain, gloomy skies, and floods. When she’s ambushed, the investigation accelerates into gunfire, chases, and hair-raising suspense. What of Pepper? Out on Route 66, the Mother Road to California, a man named Crow isn't what he seems. Lies, deceptions, and a band of outlaw motorcyclists proves to the Parkers that no matter where you turn, no matter what you do, the world is full of such darkness that even grandmothers are capable of unspeakable deeds.

About the Author

 As a boy, award-winning writer, Reavis Z. Wortham hunted and fished the river bottoms near Chicota, Texas, the inspiration for the fictional setting for THE ROCK HOLE. He was born in Paris, Texas, but lived in Dallas. “We grew up in the city and went to school there, but every Friday evening my parents put us in the car and made the 120-mile drive to Chicota, where we truly lived at my grandparents’ place in the country until Sunday evening, when we came back to the city. Our true home was that little scratch farm in Lamar County.”

Author Reavis Z. Wortham’s first novel, THE ROCK HOLE, is described by Kirkus Reviews as “an unpretentious gem written to the hilt and harrowing in its unpredictability.” Kirkus also listed it as one of the “Top 12 Mysteries of 2011.”

BURROWS, the second Red River Mystery, received a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly, “Wortham's outstanding sequel to The Rock Hole (2011)... combines the gonzo sensibility of Joe R. Lansdale and the elegiac mood of To Kill a Mockingbird to strike just the right balance between childhood innocence and adult horror.”

In a recent Starred Review by Kirkus Reviews says of BURROWS, “As in Ned’s debut (The Rock Hole, 2011), his grandchildren, Top and Pepper, are on hand to provide welcome humor and lend perspective to the acutely and unobtrusively observed small-town landscape. The result is that rare bird, a mystery with something for everyone.

Reavis also penned DOREEN'S 24 HR EAT GAS NOW CAFE. More than 1,500 newspaper and magazine articles bear the byline of this award-winning Texas writer. THE ROCK HOLE was a finalist in the prestigious Benjamin Franklin Award presented by the Independent Book Publishers Association.

Reavis is a member of Mystery Writers of America, the Writers’ League of Texas, and the International Crime Writers Association.

He lives with his wife, Shana, in Frisco, Texas.

My Review

 Dark Places is the fifth novel in the Red River Mystery series by author Reavis Z. Wortham. This is a great series published by Poisoned Pen Press. I have immensely enjoyed the first four books in the series. Dark Places is a fabulous addition to this series.

Reavis Z. Wortham is an excellent author who not only takes the reader back to the 1960s, he weaves a tale that is impossible to put down. The suspense was intense as he wove the different stories together. Young Top and Pepper are still front and center along with their older Parker relatives. The small town tale centered around the disappearance of two gentlemen, the hit and run of a resident and torrential rains that would not quit. And at the beginning of the tale, young Pepper was still yearning to follow all the young hippies out to San Francisco.

Dark Places can easily stand alone but I highly recommend that you read this entire series. It is a wonderful journey back to the old timey world of small town Texas in the 1960s. Dark Places was a pleasure to read. I love these characters!

Highly recommend!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Review: Stand Down: A J.P. Beaumont Novella (J.P. Beaumont #21.5) by J.A. Jance

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 526 KB
  • Print Length: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Witness Impulse (July 21 2015)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers CA
  • Language: English

Book Description

Life has shifted for J. P. Beaumont. After a tragic accident that devastated—and ultimately disbanded—his Special Homicide Investigaton Team, he accepts that he has left homicide detection behind at this point, but he has a lot of unanticipated free time on his hands. He's keeping busy with renovations on the new house that he and his wife, Mel Soames, the newly appointed chief of police in Bellingham, Washington, have bought. But new fixtures and paint palettes can occupy only so much of Beau's daily life, and Mel is encouraging him to return to where he is needed: investigating crimes.

In the meantime, she is struggling to gain control of her new situation, cast into a department where some are welcoming—and some are not. It's been a few months, and the tension in the police department is rising, but Beau realizes Mel has to tackle things in her own way, so he refrains from advising. But when Beau shows up one afternoon to survey the construction at their new house and finds Mel's car there but no sign of her, his investigative instincts kick in. Suddenly he's back in the game—except this time, his heart is on the line as well as his professional dignity.

About the Author

Judith Ann Jance is the top 10 New York Times bestselling author of the Joanna Brady series; the J. P. Beaumont series; three interrelated thrillers featuring the Walker family; and Edge of Evil, the first in a series featuring Ali Reynolds. Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington, and Tucson, Arizona.

* J.P. Beaumont
* Joanna Brady
* Ali Reynolds
* Walker Family

My Review

I am much more familiar with the Joanna Brady and the Ali Reynolds series but I always enjoy the J. P. Beaumont books as well.  Stand Down is a novella in the J.P. Beaumont series.

Stand Down is a very well written novella. It is a great introduction to the next book in the J. P. Beaumont series, Dance of the Bones, which I plan on reading soon. J.P. Beaumont's wife Mel is now the Police Chief of Bellingham. I've been to Bellingham countless times and can picture the neighbourhood where Beau and Mel are renovating a home. Also some of the main action in the novella takes place at a scenic overlook on the Chuckanut Drive where I have stopped countless times to look at the view of the beautiful Pacific. So this was a really enjoyable read for me.

Great read!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: Fatal Reservations (Key West Food Critic Mystery #6) by Lucy Burdette

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2080 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; Reissue edition (July 7 2015)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group USA
  • Language: English

Book Description

In the latest Key West Food Critic mystery, Hayley Snow’s beat is reviewing restaurants for Key Zest magazine. But she sets aside her knife and fork when a dear friend is accused of murder…

Hayley Snow looks forward to reviewing For Goodness Sake, a new floating restaurant that promises a fresh take on Japanese delicacies like flambéed grouper with locally sourced seaweed. But nearby land-based restaurateurs would rather see their buoyant competition sink.

Sent to a City Commission meeting to cover the controversy, Hayley witnesses another uproar. The quirky performers of the daily Sunset Celebration are struggling to hold onto their performance space. The fight for Mallory Square has renewed old rivalries between Hayley’s Tarot-card reading friend Lorenzo and a flaming-fork-juggling nemesis, Bart Frontgate—but things take a deadly turn when Bart is found murdered.

If Lorenzo could read his own cards, he might draw The Hanged Man. He can only hope that Hayley draws Justice as she tries to clear him of murder…


About the Author

Lucy Burdette is the author of the Key West food critic mysteries. As Roberta Isleib, she has also written the golf lovers mystery series and the advice column mysteries. Her books and stories have been nominated for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards.

My Review

Fatal Reservations is the sixth book in the Key West Food Critic Mystery series by author Lucy Burdette. I have read some of the previous books in the series. Fatal Reservations could easily be read as a stand alone.

I love culinary cozies but I am particularly attracted to this series as I love Key West. It is a unique, energetic paradise. So tropical yet so American. Sort of like Hawaii but more steeped in an independent spirit. A Nation of Conches (Konks). Fascinating place. Fabulous food. Steamy and cheesy.

Burdette brilliantly captures the mood of the sunset ritual at Mallory Square. The sunset ritual is part of the fabric of the island. It is wild and exuberant yet filled with a touch of carny. She also writes about the realities of the island. The issues between the old and the new. The drunken foolish tourists. The crowds and the crowdedness.

Great mystery. I was kept in the dark until the end. Liked the twist in Hailey's romantic life. Love the Bohemian lifestyles she lives on her houseboat in her houseboat community. She's young but still close with her parents. Great characters and great sense of place. Enjoyable, well-written cozy mystery. You'll love it!

Yummy recipes at the end as well as a preview of the next book in the series.

Great Escapes Book Tour: Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes by J.A. Lang

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 553 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Purple Panda Press (July 13 2015)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00WET7X64

Available from:
iTunes | Kobo | B&N/Nook (US) | Nook (UK) | Google Play | Amazon

July 14 – Book Splurge – Review
July 15 – The Ninja Librarian – Review
July 16 – readalot – Review
July 17 – Shelley’s Book Case– Review
July 19 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Spotlight
July 20 – Carole’s Book Corner – Review
July 21 – MysteriesEtc – Review
July 22 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
July 23 – Frankie Bow – Spotlight
July 24 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review
July 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight


Book Description

 In the rarefied world of wine collecting, murder isn’t exactly a barrel of laughs…

An invitation to dinner at the home of renowned wine collector Sir William Burton-Trent soon finds Chef Maurice in the middle of an all-too-real murder mystery party, when Sir William is found dead in his own wine cellar.

The guests are acting all innocent, but which one is only playing the part? The pushy Californian film director? The seductive French winemaker? Or could it be, against all narrative decency, the butler who did it?

With the help of food critic friend Arthur Wordington-Smythe, a large kipper sandwich, and the newly formed Cochon Rouge Wine Appreciation Society, Chef Maurice must get to the bottom of matters before events turn decidedly sour…

Also in this series:
-Chef Maurice and a Spot of Truffle (Book #1)

About the Author

J.A. Lang is the author of the Chef Maurice Mysteries, set in the fictional Cotswold village of Beakley, conveniently located within driving distance of her home in Oxford, England. She lives with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.

 Her favourite authors include Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse and Terry Pratchett.

 When not at her writing desk, she enjoys cooking, eating, travelling to places with good food, drinking good wine, and thinking about her next meal. (Please note that any similarities between J.A. Lang and her main character, Chef Maurice, are purely coincidental.)

My Review

Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes is the second book in the Chef Maurice mystery series by author J. A. Lang. This is the first book I've read in the series and can easily be read as a stand-alone.

Do you like reading funny mysteries? Do you love wine? Culinary mysteries?  Then Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes is for you. Sometimes you need a light funny mystery! Very enjoyable read!

J.A. Lang words flow in this delightful read. The characters are interesting and memorable as is the setting. Great culinary mystery! Be sure to pick up a copy!