Review & Giveaway: ALL THE DEADLY LIES by Marion Lanouette

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As part of a book tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours for Marion Lanouette’s Jake Carrington series, I recently had the pleasure of reading All the Deadly Lies, the first  book in the series.

About the Book

Homicide detective Jake Carrington takes murder personally…

01 ALL THE DEADLY LIES_402x600The victim was bludgeoned, stripped, and left for dead. Shanna Wagner deserves justice—and there’s no better cop than Lieutenant Jake Carrington to find her killer. The brutality of the crime reminds Jake of his sister’s murder seventeen years ago, and the remorseless man responsible, now up for parole.

Then another woman is killed—and Jake goes dangerously close to the edge. He’ll have to face his personal demons and focus his formidable skills if he hopes to stop a vicious murderer from striking again—and hold on to his career, and his life . . .

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My Review

Jake Carrington is a likeable and smart detective, but flawed. I liked that he wasn’t perfect. He makes mistakes in both his personal and professional life.  He wants to bring justice to the victims, but sometimes breaks the rules placing himself in difficult situations.

In this book, multiple sub-plots are woven together as Jake and his team tackle two active murder cases. At the same time,  Jake starts to review the files from his sister’s murder in advance of her murderer’s parole hearing, providing further insights into the detective’s past.  The active cases are interesting, with red herrings and twists that keep the pages turning as you attempt to guess the identities of the guilty parties.

Although I am all for romance as part of the storyline (it makes the characters more human), the interjection of a graphic sexual encounter in the middle of the story detracted from the flow of the story and contributed nothing in terms of plot or character development.

Nonetheless, this well written and unpredictable read will likely please fans of thrillers and mysteries.

Content Advisory: If you are offended by strong language and explicit graphic sex, this book might not be for you.

FTC Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review. 

About the Series

The Jake Carrington series includes the following thrillers:

All the Hidden Sins  (A Jake Carrington Thriller #2)

When it comes to crime, homicide detective Jake Carrington plays for high stakes . . .

Assigned a missing persons case, Lieutenant Jake Carrington investigates a local Mob boss. The trail goes cold, but the Mafioso isn’t taking any chances, and soon the heat turns up from another quarter. Turns out there’s more than one dangerous suspect . . .

Kyra Russell is drop-dead gorgeous and Jake is only human. But despite their mutual attraction, Jake’s suspicion deepens when he learns about her gambling problem—an addiction that cost her both husband and son. Even more disturbing is Kyra’s day job. She runs a crematorium—and it’s tied to the Mob. Now Jake will have to navigate a firestorm of treachery to get to the truth . . .

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JakeC_series.pngAll the Pretty Brides  (A Jake Carrington Thriller #3)

Homicide detective Jake Carrington has an engagement that can’t wait—with a killer.

Haunted by the murder of his sister, Lieutenant Jake Carrington struggles to control his personal demons as he stands over the brutalized body of a young woman found dead on the railroad tracks. The victim disappeared on July 6th, the fifth woman in as many years to go missing on that date. The fifth happy bride-to-be. The only one whose body has turned up.

Soon the killer is sending personal messages to Jake. They refer to an unidentified brother he believes Jake hates as much as he does. With his partner distracted by turmoil at home, Jake is on his own. Drawn deeper and deeper into a murderous family feud, his mission is to find out who the killer’s brother is—and stop him before another innocent woman’s life is cut tragically short.

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All the Dirty Secrets  (A Jake Carrington Thriller #4)

It’s a shocking blast from the past when homicide detective Jake Carrington finds himself investigating the last woman he’d suspect of murder . . .

Recovering from a stab wound to the gut, and dealing with the news that his sister’s killer might beat the system, Lieutenant Jake Carrington needs some downtime. But that’s cut short by a very sensitive case: the murder of the police commissioner’s wife. The crime scene—a dive hotel, complete with provocative, incriminating photos—suggests the victim was having an affair. But Jake finds that hard to believe—as hard to believe as the #1 suspect . . .

Jake hasn’t seen his high school sweetheart, Melinda Mastrianni, since the day his sister, Eva, died. He’d turned down Eva’s request for a ride so he could go see Melinda, and the guilt has never left him. Now Melinda’s a local photographer, mostly shooting weddings and graduations. Definitely not the kind of pics that led him to her doorstep. But when Melinda disappears, and more prominent women turn up dead, Jake will have to navigate through a twisted blackmailing scheme to find out if the girl he once knew is long gone—or if she’s a killer’s next target . . .

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About the Author

A self-described tough blonde from Brooklyn, Marian Lanouette grew up as one of 10 children. As far back as she can remember, Marian loved to read. She was especially intrigued by the Daily News crime reports. Tragically, someone she knew was murdered. The killer was never found. Her Jake Carrington thrillers are informed by her admiration for police work, her experience in running a crematorium, and her desire to write books where good prevails, even in the darkest times. Marian lives in New England with her husband.

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

http://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/all-the-dirty-secrets-book-tour-and-giveaway

Review: SOUTHERN SASS AND KILLER CRAVINGS by Kate Young

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read Southern Sass and Killer Cravings, a new paranormal cozy mystery by Kate Young.

Description

Life has always been sweet on Georgia’s Peach Cove Island, but a case of murder has Marygene Brown down in the pits . . .

Southern-Sass-and-Killer-CravingsFor generations, the women of the Brown family on Peach Cove Island have been known for their Southern sass and sweet homemade desserts at their beloved Peach Diner. Since their mother’s passing two years ago, Marygene has been stuck in Atlanta while her sister Jena Lynn has been running the family business. Now Marygene has left her husband and returned to her hometown, where she can almost feel Mama’s presence.

But all is not peachy back home. Marygene has barely tied on an apron when a diner regular drops dead at the counter. When it turns out the old man’s been poisoned, Jena Lynn is led away in handcuffs and the family eatery is closed. Now, to save her sister and the diner, Marygene must find the real killer. With some startling assistance from her Mama’s spirit, Marygene will be serving up a special order of just desserts . . .

Includes seven recipes from Marygene’s Kitchen!

My Review

In this first is a series set in small town Georgia, Marygene has returned to  Peach Cove to run the diner with her sister.  When Jena Lynn becomes the prime suspect in a murder case, Marygene can’t sit idly by.  Her attempts to investigate provide insights into complex family relationships, a painful past, and a hint at better days to come.  The whodunnit side of the plot had a fair share of twists, with her mother’s ghost making an appearance at both convenient and inconvenient times.  The paranormal aspect of the story was for the most part nicely done, however I would have preferred if the resolution of the story had been more down to earth, more realistic.  That said, it was a pleasant read overall.

FTC Disclosure:  I received an advance review copy of this book as part of  this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review.

About the Author

Sassauthorpic2018Kate Young writes humorous southern mystery novels. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and the Guppy Chapter. Kate lives in a small town in Georgia with her husband, three kids, and a Shih Tzu. When she is not writing her own books, she’s reading or cooking.

Author Links

Purchase Links — Amazon  B&N  Kobo  Indie Bound   ibooks    BAM

Giveaway

Kate young is hosting A PRE-ORDER CONTEST with fabulous prizes! A Coach Bag with matching wristlet and $120 in gift cards plus autographed copies of the book!  Go to  https://www.kateyoungbooks.com/pre-order-contest.html to enter.

For a full list of stops on this tour, click here.

Review: FIELDS’ GUIDE TO ABDUCTION by Julie Mulhern

Surveying my endless TBR pile and looking for something fun to read, I pulled up Fields’ Guide to Abduction – the first book in the Poppy Fields Adventures mystery series by Julie Mulhern.   A fun read.

Description

Poppy Fields is a Holl51kaijvgzmlywood IT girl with big problems. Bodies are popping up like daisies, the Mexican police have taken her passport, and, when she runs for the border, a cartel makes her their unwilling guest.

Surrounded by trained killers, Poppy will need charm, intelligence, and a killer Chihuahua if she hopes to escape.

My Review

An enjoyable read.  Poppy is a spoiled young woman, who mostly wants to have fun, preferably without having to pay for it.  Still she has untapped strengths a feisty side – of which she herself is not entirely aware until she is faced with life or death situations while held captive by a drug cartel.  Add in a bit of family drama and humor, an intimidating Chihuahua,  action and suspense, and you have a fun choice for your next beach read.

Fields’ Guide to Abduction is available on Amazon.   No promises – but last time I checked it was Free to download.

Review: DRONE STRIKE by Joe Giordano

If you enjoy international intrigue and suspense, you will want to check out Drone Strike: An Anthony Provati Thriller (Appointment with ISIL Book 2) by Joe Giordano.  I had reviewed the first book in the series, and was glad when the author offered me a review copy of the sequel.

Description

Drone Strike, an Anthony Provati Thriller. Karim’s family is killed as ‘collateral damage’ by a U.S. drone strike in Iraq. The Islamic State in the Levant exploits his rage, recruiting him for a terrorist attack on the U.S., and only Anthony Provati can stop him. Drone Strike takes you on a fast-paced adventure across the Mediterranean, into Mexico, finally arriving in the States. Drone Strike explores the psychological realities that seduce Karim to commit an act of terror, includes a love story between Moslem Karim and Miriam, a Christian woman he defends in Turkey, and highlights the plight of Middle Eastern and Central American refugees.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book. As in Appointment with ISIL, the first book in the series,  the author has created a somewhat disturbing scenario that strikes home given the threat of terror faced around the world today. I enjoyed following the protagonist, Anthony Provati, as he again tries to thwart a terrorist attack.  He is the same loveable, flawed guy who finds it hard to resist the temptation of a beautiful woman.

But before Anthony makes his appearance, the reader is introduced to Karim and is given a glimpse into the events that contributed to his bitterness toward America.  He is a particularly well developed character; an internal debate rages within him, particularly after he meets a Syrian Christian woman who is seeking refuge in Europe.

Clearly, an impressive amount of research went into this book – both with respect to the diverse geographic destinations and the cultures and organizations involved.

An interesting and engrossing read. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish it.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

For my review of the first book in this series, click here.
The book is available on Amazon.

Review & Giveaway: BAD PICK by Linda Lovely

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading Bad Pick, the third book in the Udderly Kidding cozy mystery series. A fun read.

About the Book

Bad-Pick-Linda-lovelyVegan Brie Hooker lives and works with her feisty Aunt Eva at Udderly Kidding Dairy, a hop, skip, and jump away from South Carolina’s Clemson University. Brie’s fun farm outreach attempt backfires when religious extremists decide goat yoga is a form of devil worship. Believing one of the zealots might be persuaded to see reason, Brie’s free-wheeling friend Mollye convinces her they should call on the young woman. Big mistake.

Picketers at Udderly’s gates soon become the least of Brie’s troubles. Not only is she accused of murder, she worries the death might actually be her fault. Danger mounts when an old family friend’s visit ensnares Brie in a high-stakes feud between a U.S. Supreme Court nominee and the woman determined to expose his secrets. In her personal life, Brie’s still torn between the town’s two most eligible bachelors. While she’s edging toward a decision, she must first survive a cunning killer adept at crafting murders that look like tragic accidents. Will Brie be another “accident” victim? Pay a visit to Udderly Kidding Dairy and find out!

My Review

Brie Hooker is back in a delightful new cozy mystery.  She is a great character. Warm, caring, and tolerant of others who do not share her vegan outlook on life.  When someone somehow poisons the food she has prepared for food critics,  Brie has to find out who did it – if only to prove her own innocence and protect the reputation of the business she is in the progress of launching.  She does so with the help of two good-natured and protective guys – best friends, both of whom she happens to be openly dating at the same time.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a nicely paced and entertaining read, with just the right balance of humor, romance, and mystery.  And I have to admit that yoga sounds like fun, though I’d probably ignore the instructor and just sit around playing with the goats.

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book.  This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

Giveaway

Click to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway  for a chance to win an Amazon Gift Card (hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Linda Lovely).

About the Author

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Hundreds of mystery writers have met Linda Lovely at check-in for the annual Writers’ Police Academy, which she helps organize. Lovely finds writing pure fiction isn’t a huge stretch given the years she’s spent penning PR and ad copy. She writes a blend of mystery and humor, chuckling as she plots to “disappear” the types of characters who most annoy her. Quite satisfying plus there’s no need to pester relatives for bail. Her new Brie Hooker Mystery series offers good-natured salutes to both her vegan family doctor and her cheese-addicted kin. Bad Pick is her eighth published mystery novel. She served as president of her local Sisters in Crime chapter for five years and belongs to International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
lindalovely.com 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Purchase Links

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Review & Giveaway: DYING ON EDISTO by C. Hope Clark

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As part of a tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading Murder on Edisto by  C. Hope Clark. 

About the Book

DYingOnEdisto-coverOne death. Two detectives. And unexpected backup.

A Callie Morgan and Carolina Slade crossover! (A standalone mystery)

When a renowned—and now dead—travel blogger washes ashore on the banks of Indigo Plantation, Police Chief Callie Morgan of Edisto Beach agrees to head the investigation as a favor to the county sheriff, whose reasons are as questionable as the death itself.

When death turns to murder and a watchdog from the county makes her investigation difficult, Callie reluctantly turns to Carolina Slade and Wayne Largo, vacationing agents with the Department of Agriculture. Because poison is growing on this plantation, and someone knows how to use it well.

“Page-turning…[and] edge-of-your-seat action…crisp writing and compelling storytelling. This is one you don’t want to miss!” —Carolyn Haines, USA Today bestselling author

“Her beloved protagonist, Callie, continues to delight readers as a strong, savvy, and a wee-bit-snarky police chief.”—Julie Cantrell, NY Times and USA Today bestselling author

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My Review

A dead body is never good for business. And when it is found by vacationing  federal investigators Carolina Slade and Wayne Largo while Police Chief Callie Morgan happens to be visiting the newly opened resort, the potential for conflict is no surprise.  Especially when it is outside their respective jurisdictions and the local detective is not a nice guy.    The author provides the reader with insights into both Callie and Slade, their  motivation, their pasts, and their relationships with others.

The plot was intricate and well developed, with twists and turns leading to a satisfying resolution and vivid descriptions of a picturesque southern community. An enjoyable mystery.

This was my first time reading anything by this author.  I liked this book, though I suspect it might be easier to get into for fans of both series who are already acquainted with the two main characters.  That said, I just might go back and read the earlier books in those series.

FTC Disclosure:  I received a review copy of this book as part of this blog tour.  This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

Giveaway

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.

About the Author

C. Hope Clark_393x400C. Hope Clark has a fascination with the mystery genre and is author of the Carolina Slade Mystery Series as well as the Edisto Island Mysteries, both set in her home state of South Carolina. In her previous federal life, she performed administrative investigations and married the agent she met on a bribery investigation. She enjoys nothing more than editing her books on the back porch with him, overlooking the lake, with bourbons in hand. She can be found either on the banks of Lake Murray or Edisto Beach with one or two dachshunds in her lap. Hope is also editor of the award-winning FundsforWriters.com.

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Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

Review: THE WEDDING GUEST by Jonathan Kellerman

About the Book

51h8peoixxlAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis is a fine homicide detective, but when he needs to get into the mind of a killer, he leans on the expertise of his best friend, the brilliant psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware. While Sturgis has a knack for piecing together the details of a crime, Delaware can decipher the darkest intents driving the most vicious of perpetrators. And there’s no better place for the doctor’s analytical skills to shine than a rowdy hall full of young men and women intoxicated on life and lust . . . and suddenly faced with the specter of death.

Summoned to a run-down former strip joint, Delaware and Sturgis find themselves crashing a wild Saints and Sinners–themed wedding reception. But they’re not the only uninvited guests. A horrified bridesmaid has discovered the body of a young woman, dressed to impress in pricey haute couture and accessorized with a grisly red slash around her neck. What’s missing is any means of identification, or a single partygoer who recognizes the victim. The baffled bride is convinced the stranger snuck in to sabotage her big day—and the groom is sure it’s all a dreadful mistake. But Delaware and Sturgis have a hundred guests to question, and a sneaking suspicion that the motive for murder is personal. Now they must separate the sinners from the saints, the true from the false, and the secrets from those keeping them. The party’s over—and the hunt for whoever killed it is on.

My Review

A long time fan, I  enjoyed reacquainting myself with Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis as they attempted to find out the identity of the victim and why she was killed.  They are so different and yet remain the best of friends. Nonetheless,  I found that the plot lacked depth and momentum, and the characters were not as well developed as in Kellerman’s earlier works.  An okay read, but nowhere near as enjoyable as previous books in this series.

FTC disclosure:  I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.  This has not affected the content of my review. 

Review: BROWNIE POINTS FOR MURDER by Nicole Ellis

I was looking for a light mystery read and the title of this book was calling this brownie lover’s name.  And I was in the mood to try a new author (new to me anyway).  Brownie Points for Murder is the first book in the Jill Andrews Cozy Mystery series by Nicole Ellis.

browniepointscvrDescription

Suburban mom Jill Andrews has two young kids and a husband who travels more than he’s home. Her biggest worry is the decision to re-enter the workforce, until she trips over the body of her neighbor, Samuel Westen, who’d been feuding with Jill’s sister-in-law Desi.

When the stress of being the police’s top suspect lands Desi in the hospital with pregnancy complications, Jill must navigate her own mom-life crisis, sift through a tangled web of secrets and lies, and discover the identity of the real killer before it’s too late.

My Review

Jill Andrews is a young mother who lives in a small town, surrounded by her husband’s loving family. When a widely disliked neighbor is murdered, Jill is determined to  identify the killer and prove her sister-in-law’s innocence.  

It’s easy to identify with the hectic nature of her life as she raises two small children with an almost absentee father, however it’s not as easy to identify with some of the risks she takes as the story unfolds.   Nonetheless, I found it to be a pleasant, nicely paced read, with an interesting plot, with elements of humor provided by the antics of the kids and other supporting (four-legged) characters.

Review: AS DIRECTED by Kathleen Valenti

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading As Directed, the third book in the Maggie O’Malley Mystery series by Kathleen Valenti. 

About the Book

AsDirected-cover-front-REV-663x1024In the shadow of a past fraught with danger and tainted by loss, former pharmaceutical researcher Maggie O’Malley is rebuilding her life, trading test tubes for pill bottles as she embarks on a new career at the corner drugstore.

But as she spreads her wings, things begin to go terribly wrong. A customer falls ill in the store. Followed by another. And then more.

The specter of poisoning arises, conjuring old grudges, past sins, buried secrets and new suspicions from which no one is immune.

As Maggie and her best friend Constantine begin to investigate, they discover that some of the deadliest doses come from the most unexpected places.

My Review

From the first page, suspense is in the air. Even before you meet Maggie and the main characters, the prologue has you hooked and you want know what is happening and why.  Then, when customers at the pharmacy start to drop, you share in Maggie’s angst as she tries to identify the source of the poisoning.  Her charming would-be bridegroom, Constantine, is at her side – helping her investigate, while they both fend off family demands to set a date and plan a fancy wedding.  After all,  how can she can think about weddings when people are dropping all around her.  As Maggie’s investigation progresses, the story takes unexpected directions along the way to a satisfying resolution. An enjoyable and well-paced read with an intricate plot.

This was my first time reading anything by this author. Although part of a series, this book can definitely be read as a standalone.

FTC Disclosure:  I received an advance review copy from the publisher.  This has not affected the content of this review. 

About the Author

kvpromoshot-300x300Kathleen Valenti is the author of the Maggie O’Malley Mystery Series, which includes her Agatha- and Lefty-nominated debut novel, Protocol. When Kathleen isn’t writing page-turning mysteries that combine humor and suspense, she works as a nationally award-winning advertising copywriter. She lives in Oregon with her family where she pretends to enjoy running. Learn more at www.kathleenvalenti.com.

Author Links

Purchase Links:  Amazon Barnes & Noble  iTunes  Kobo

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Review: AN AFFAIR TO DISMEMBER by Elise Sax

Browsing through the countless books on my e-reader, I recently opened up An Affair to Dismember, the first book in the Matchmaker Mysteries series by Elise Sax.  Light romance and mystery are one of my favorite combinations.

41jlcipu77lDescription (on Amazon)

Three months has been Gladie Burger’s limit when it comes to staying in one place. That’s why Gladie is more than a little skeptical when her Grandma Zelda–who is more than a little psychic– recruits her into the family’s matchmaking business in the quaint small town of Cannes, California. What’s more, Gladie is also highly unqualified, having a terrible track record with romance. Still, Zelda is convinced that her granddaughter has her clairvoyant “gift.” But when the going gets tough, Gladie wonders if this gift has a return policy.

When Zelda’s neighbor drops dead in his kitchen, Gladie is swept into his bizarre family’s drama. Despite warnings from the (distractingly gorgeous) chief of police to steer clear of his investigation, Gladie is out to prove that her neighbor’s death was murder. It’s not too long before she’s in way over her head–with the hunky police chief, a dysfunctional family full of possible killers, and yet another mysterious and handsome man, whose attentions she’s unable to ignore. Gladie is clearly being pursued–either by true love or by a murderer. Who will catch her first?

My Review

This is a  light and entertaining read with quirky characters and a healthy dose of humor. Gladie was fun, though her actions were not always reasonable or realistic and often got her into trouble. Turns out learning to be a matchmaker is a challenge and a vocation that is sure to present the potential for humorous situations.  Some of her Grandma’s tips at the start of each chapter are priceless.

If you are looking for a serious traditional mystery or a sweet romance, this is not the book for you.  But, if you are in the mood to laugh out loud and forget your troubles for a few hours, then this book fits the bill.

Note: If you are offended by the use of profanity, this book might not be for you.