Review & Giveaway: FLIGHT RISK by Cara Putnam

As part of a virtual tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading a pre-release copy of  Flight Riskan engaging thriller by Cara Putnam.

About the Book

flight-risk-by-cara-putman-978-0785233275-coverSavannah Daniels has worked hard to build her law practice, to surround herself with good friends, and to be the loyal aunt her troubled niece can always count on. But since her ex-husband’s betrayal, she has trouble trusting anyone.

Jett Glover’s father committed suicide over a false newspaper report that ruined his reputation. Now a fierce champion of truth, Jett is writing the story of his journalism career—an international sex-trafficking exposé that will bring down a celebrity baseball player and the men closest to him, including Savannah’s ex-husband.

When Jett’s story breaks, tragedy ensues. Then a commercial airline crashes, and one of Savannah’s clients is implicated in the crash. Men connected to the scandal, including her ex, begin to die amid mysterious circumstances, and Savannah’s niece becomes an unwitting target.

Against their better instincts, Jett and Savannah join ranks to sort the facts from fiction. But can Savannah trust the reporter who threw her life into chaos? And can Jett face the possibility that he’s made the biggest mistake of his life?

My Review

This is a fast moving legal thriller that combines mystery, suspense, and romance while taking on difficult topics – journalistic integrity and human trafficking – and complex family relationships.

Savannah is a strong intelligent woman, whose family relationships are complex (and unusual). She relies on her faith to cope with difficult situations.  A successful patent lawyer, her latest case involves a technology related to the aircraft industry.  When a plane goes down with her ex-husband on it, Savannah (and this reader) can’t help wondering whether it is merely a coincidence.  And so the questions begin.

Jett, on the other hand, is a self-righteous journalist with very strong feelings about “fake news” – he is determined to report nothing but the truth.  Jett has published an expository piece on Savannah’s ex and his pals – making accusations that she has trouble accepting at face value.  Given their conflicting opinions, it is no surprise that these two main characters disagree, despite the strong undercurrent of sexual tension between the two.  Nonetheless, the two find they need to work together to discover the truth.

There is much more to this story than initially meets the eye.  Surprises abound as the story unravels – with enough suspense to keep the pages turning way past my bedtime.

FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cara Putman and Thomas Nelson. There will be 2 winners. Each winner will receive a set of three (3) print copies by Cara Putman.

About the Author

flight-risk-by-cara-putman-978-0785233275-Cara Putman is the author of more than twenty-five legal thrillers, historical romances, and romantic suspense novels. She has won or been a finalist for honors including the ACFW Book of the Year and the Christian Retailing’s BEST Award. Cara graduated high school at sixteen, college at twenty, completed her law degree at twenty-seven, and recently received her MBA. She is a practicing attorney, teaches undergraduate and graduate law courses at a Big Ten business school, and is a homeschooling mom of four. She lives with her husband and children in Indiana.

Visit her at:
CaraPutman.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter – @Cara_Putman, & Facebook – Cara.Putman!

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Visit the tour page for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Review: HER SILENT CRY by Lisa Regan

This summer I got a lot of reading done. For a slight change of pace, I downloaded a review copy of Her Silent Cry (Detective Josie Quinn Book 6) from Net Galley.  After all, I couldn’t resist a thriller with such a beautiful cover.

Description

51xgehv2bpblRound and round she goes, blonde pigtails flying, her high-pitched giggle catching on the wind. But as the ride slows to a stop, her seat is suddenly empty. Little Lucy is gone…

When seven-year-old Lucy Ross is snatched from the carousel in Denton city park, Detective Josie Quinn joins the frantic search. She’s the one who finds Lucy’s sparkly butterfly backpack abandoned by the ticket booth, a note with a devastating message stuffed inside: answer your phone, or your sweet little darling will die…

The next day, Lucy’s parents are filled with hope when they pick up a call which they think is from their babysitter – but instead it’s a chilling male voice on the line. Josie races to the babysitter’s small apartment only to find her lifeless body in a tangle of sheets on her bed.

Josie is faced with the most high-stakes case of her career as each new phone call from someone connected to the family ends with the shocking discovery of another body. This twisted killer wants revenge, and he won’t stop until the Ross family are in pieces…

Something is telling Josie that Lucy’s parents aren’t giving her the whole truth, but digging deeper into their lives will force her to confront a life-changing secret of her own. Does Josie have what it takes to crack this case? She has no choice if she’s going to bring Lucy home alive…

Her Silent Cry is available on Amazon.

My Review

This police procedural/thriller was a page-turner. From the onset, you are invested – you want to know what happened to Lucy, who took her, and why.  Josie is strong, smart, and determined. She is quick to take charge and willing to do whatever needs to be done to find the missing child. The investigation points in one direction, only to then turn in another, and then veer off in yet another – without identifying the kidnapper and motive until almost the very end. Relatable characters and unexpected plot twists made for an engrossing read.

This was my first time reading anything by Lisa Regan;  it probably won’t me my last.    Although Her Silent Cry can be read as a standalone,  I may have to find time now to go back and read the rest of the series.

FTC Disclosure:  I received an advance review copy of this book via Net Galley. This has not affected the content of my review.

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

dying on edisto banner

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

Goodreads * Amazon

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.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Amazon * Goodreads

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

Review, Spotlight & Giveaway: DEAD LAWYERS DON’T LIE by Mark Nolan


killer lawyer banner

As part of a tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie by Mark Nolan.  This action-filled thriller is the first book in the Jake Wolfe series.

About Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie

Attorney by day, assassin by night.

Dead-Lawyers-Don't-Lie-EBook-1563x2500_375x600Jake Wolfe is a young lawyer who leads a secret life. Trained by the CIA, he now wants peace and quiet, practicing law and living on a boat with his war dog. But when his city is shocked by a serial killer and he’s framed for the murder of a friend, Jake must race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.

Drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse; at every step Jake and his loved ones are being hunted by the clever, twisted madman. As the city is gripped in fear of the seemingly random shootings that could strike anybody, Jake investigates and uncovers ominous clues until a shocking reversal of fortune changes everything.

With the clock ticking and lives at stake, will Jake be able to find and stop the killer in time, or will he become the next victim?

Buckle up for a wild ride as Jake Wolfe and his exceptionally intelligent dog, Cody, return to action in this page-turning thriller in Mark Nolan’s bestselling series that has earned thousands of 5-star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads.

Goodreads * Amazon

My Review

Jake is a good guy. Even if he has in the past killed people for a living.  He has skills. Investigative and military, and he uses them to his advantage.  However, some of the action-packed scenes and the ease with which Jake triumphed did require a suspension of disbelief.  The story is told from multiple points of view, which sometimes created confusion, as the narrative hopped back and forth between various characters’ thoughts.  (I loved the dog and his insights.) It was also a very long book.  I think I’d have enjoyed it more if some of the descriptions/back story had been more concise. Nonetheless, the fast-paced and interesting plot made it hard to put it down, with the temptation to read just another chapter winning out until way past my bedtime.

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. 

About Vigilante Assassin, Jake Wolfe Book 2

Every marriage has a secret, but this one is deadly.

VigilanteAssassin_1563x2500_375x600Lauren Stephens wakes up to find her husband, Gene, has vanished during the night. His phone is dead. Desperate, she hires Jake Wolfe and his war dog, Cody. They search the house and discover something so disturbing that Jake won’t allow Lauren near it. “No, if you see this, there is no unseeing it.”

Lauren thought she had it all: a loving partner, two great kids, a successful business, and a beautiful home in the San Francisco hills. But all of that is about to come crashing down, due to a missing husband, a hidden past, and a frightening secret that will shock a trusting wife to the core. Gene has enemies, and now they want something from Lauren.

Jake Wolfe is a flawed man who has a habit of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. He wants to leave his secret, violent past behind him, but when Lauren and her children are threatened, his protective instinct takes command. Jake soon finds himself involved in a dangerous conspiracy, targeted for death, and engaged in battle with a powerful, unseen group who will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Jake’s going to have to think fast and fight hard to protect Cody, Lauren and her kids.

Vigilante Assassin is “Jake Wolfe book two” in the ongoing series. It can be read as a stand-alone, or you can start with book one, titled: Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie.

Both of these Kindle Unlimited books in the Jake Wolfe mystery thriller novel series are available to read for free with your subscription to Kindle Unlimited.

Goodreads * Amazon

About Killer Lawyer, Jake Wolfe Book 3

Attorney by day, assassin by night.

KillerLawyer_eBook_1600x2560_375x600Jake Wolfe is a young lawyer who leads a secret life. Trained by the CIA, he now wants peace and quiet, practicing law and living on a boat with his war dog. But when his city is shocked by a serial killer and he’s framed for the murder of a friend, Jake must race against time to find the killer before he strikes again.

Drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse; at every step Jake and his loved ones are being hunted by the clever, twisted madman. As the city is gripped in fear of the seemingly random shootings that could strike anybody, Jake investigates and uncovers ominous clues until a shocking reversal of fortune changes everything.

With the clock ticking and lives at stake, will Jake be able to find and stop the killer in time, or will he become the next victim?

Buckle up for a wild ride as Jake Wolfe and his exceptionally intelligent dog, Cody, return to action in this page-turning thriller in Mark Nolan’s bestselling series that has earned thousands of 5-star ratings on Amazon and Goodreads.

Goodreads * Amazon

Mark_400x390About the Author

Mark Nolan is the author of Dead Lawyers Don’t Lie, the sequel titled Vigilante Assassin, and book 3 in the series: Killer Lawyer. He’s currently writing book 4. Mark also tries to make time every day to answer emails from readers. You can reach him and subscribe to his newsletter at marknolan.com.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads

Giveaway

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a $25 Amazon GC giveaway!

http://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/killer-lawyer-book-tour-and-giveaway

Review: LOVE FROM A TO Z by Lia London

This past weekend I decided to take a break from mysteries and read a book that didn’t include a single dead body.   Lia’s London’s latest release – Love from A to Z – was the perfect choice. And just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Description

Falling in love is a family affair…

atozFor seven years, Antonio Seneca has had to be a father to his two younger brothers. He might struggle in the kitchen, but he makes sure the boys get their homework done and stay out of trouble. Only now that they’ve discovered girls, he has to decide if a love life would be a welcome distraction or a complete disaster.

Smart and sassy Zaira Vasquez got herself through a nursing degree and landed her first job at a hospital, but being a single, working mom is exhausting, no matter how cute her toddler daughter is. With only two relatives nearby to lend a hand, she needs adult companionship. Could it be that the handsome young man across the street is a remedy for her loneliness?

Growing from neighbors to co-workers to friends, Antonio and Zaira try dating while parenting, and parenting while dating, and find that the two occupations aren’t always compatible. How can they navigate the chaos of the present and the heartaches of the past to form something beautiful for their future?

My Review

This light and easy boy-meets-girl story features two strong main characters, both deeply affected by events from their pasts.  Antonio is not at all what Zaira expects. He’s nothing like the gorgeous player he portrayed on a reality show.  Yeah, he’s still gorgeous, but he’s a nice guy.  A responsible guy who is doing his best to raise his younger brothers on his own. The attraction is immediate – they click; but they both resist.  They both want to find love, however fear repeating past mistakes. You can’t help rooting for them to find their “happily ever after.”

This is a sweet “clean” romance that focuses on family and family values. The story is sprinkled with humorous antics and entertaining dialog and made for a delightful escape. I just may have to go back and read the rest of the series.

Review & Excerpt: CRIMINAL MISDEEDS by Randee Green

criminal-misdeeds-by-randee-greenBanner

As part of a book tour organized by Partners in Crime, I recently had the pleasure of reading Criminal Misdeeds, the first in a new series by a new author. Fun read.

Description

As far back as the Shatners can be traced, they have been breaking the law and running from it. It’s a family tradition. Now Carrie Shatner is a detective and crime-scene technician with the Wyatt County Sheriff’s Department in Eastern Texas. Over the years, she has tried to distance herself from her family’s criminal activities. But that is easier said than done.

criminal_misdeeds_300-1The Shatner family is celebrating New Year’s Eve at the Wyatt County Fairgrounds in their usual style: illegal fireworks, homemade moonshine, and a near brawl. After shutting down the party, Carrie does a final sweep of the fairgrounds and finds a dead body in a dumpster.

Good news: the dead man is not a Shatner. Bad news: the Shatners are now suspects in a homicide investigation. Soon the fairgrounds are overrun with law enforcement, including Sergeant Jerrod Hardy, a Texas Ranger. The victim is Kyle Vance, Carrie’s ex-boyfriend and a member of the Palmer family, who have been feuding with the Shatners since the Civil War.

Despite serious misgivings, Hardy allows Carrie to help him investigate. He knows she physically couldn’t have beaten Vance to death, but he wonders if she is covering for a family member.

My Review

Imagine trying to uphold the law when your family is prone to violating the law on a regular basis.  Figuring out where to draw the line between family loyalties and her job is an ongoing challenge for Carrie Shatner.  And her family isn’t making matters any easier, especially when the crime is murder and the victim is a Palmer.   But Carrie is   feisty enough to stand up to her relatives – sometimes, anyway.

Carrie is candid and entertaining. With a light conversational tone, it is almost as if an old friend is recounting an absurd episode in her life.  The plot was at the same time predictable and surprising. The course of events and revelations that led up to the resolution included twists and the identity of the killer came as a surprise to me.

This fast-paced mystery is likely to appeal to fans of cozy and other light mysteries.  I look forward to reading more about Carrie’s adventures in the future.

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

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Criminal Misdeeds by Randee Green

CHAPTER ONE

I come from a long line of criminals.

Moonshiners, rumrunners, and drug dealers. Horse thieves and carjackers. Bank robbers, burglars, pickpockets, and con artists. And then there has been the occasional killer. You name it, whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor, somewhere along the line a member of my family has committed it.

As far back as the Shatner family could be traced – from southern England to the mountains of western North Carolina, and now to the Piney Woods of East Texas – we had been breaking the law. And running from it, too.

It was a family tradition.

You see, the Shatners have never swum in the baby pool of life. We’ve always been out in the deep end, and we jumped in headfirst.

As for me, every day I fight my genetic predisposition to break the law. Some days I’ve been more successful than others. You see, I can’t break the law when I’m the one who is supposed to be upholding it.

My name is Carrie Shatner, and for the last three-and-a-half years I have worked as a detective and crime scene technician for the Wyatt County Sheriff’s Department in East Texas. That would put my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University to good use except there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of serious crime in Wyatt County. I mainly sat behind my desk all day, twiddling my thumbs, playing Sudoku, and keeping up with my various social media accounts.

While my official job was to process crime scenes and deal with all parts of criminal investigations, my unofficial job was to cover up my family’s illegal activities and keep them out of jail. I’d be the first to admit that what I have been doing wasn’t ethical. It was probably also criminal. I tried not to think about that too much. To be honest, I tried not to think about any of it too much. Most days I felt like quitting my job. Family obligation prevented that.

I’m not saying that all of the Shatners have been hardened criminals. Sure, most of the older ones were. But at least some of the younger ones shied away from the family business and seemed to be sticking to the straight and narrow. And they were the reason why I do what I do. Yes, I clean up the crimes of the guilty. But I do it to protect the innocent.

These days, the laws my various family members break have been fairly minor ones. Okay, some were still kind of major. But it was nothing compared to what we used to engage in. I mean, I’m pretty sure we were no longer involved in contract killing or organized crime.

What I did know was that my great-uncles had a moonshine still out in the woods and a marijuana crop concealed in a bunch of old Cold War bomb shelters. Every time I caught one of my family members selling the homebrew or the pot, they would promise me it was the last time. I didn’t believe them. I didn’t arrest them either, because I knew it wouldn’t stop them. It would also infuriate the rest of the family. And, while tempting, that wasn’t a risk I was quite willing to take. At least not yet.

Occasionally, one of the younger Shatners would steal a car or deface some public property or get busted for underage drinking. The older Shatners were always getting nabbed for public indecency and public intoxication. Some of them were also heavily involved in insurance scams. And then there had been the occasional assault. But we hadn’t killed anyone – accidently or on purpose – in years. Or, if someone had, I didn’t know about it.

When you got down to it, the majority of the bad things that the Shatners have done were just plain dumb. And, as far as I knew, being stupid wasn’t illegal. We would have been in serious trouble otherwise.

I don’t want you to go into this thinking that all of the Shatners were bad people. Most of them have just been a little misguided.

At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

Until I found the body.

Excerpt from Criminal Misdeeds by Randee Green. Copyright © 20178. All rights reserved.

About the Author

randee-bretherick-green-author-photo.jpgRandee Green’s passion for reading began in grade school with Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, as well as a master’s and an MFA in Creative Writing. When not writing, she’s usually reading, indulging in her passion for Texas country music, traveling, or hanging out with her favorite feline friend, Mr. Snookums G. Cat.

Catch Up With Randee Green On:
randeegreen.com 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

 

Review: THREE ODD BALLS by Cindy Blackburn

I was poking through the endless list of books on my Kindle looking for a light read.  Cindy Blackburn’s Three Odd Balls definitely fit the bill.  One of the earlier books in the Cue Ball Mystery series, it was a fun read.

413pxycuehlDescription (Amazon)

A romantic vacation for…five? This wasn’t exactly what Jessie and Wilson had in mind when they planned their trip to the tropics. But the fun begins when Jessie’s delightfully spry mother, Wilson’s surfer dude son, and Jessie’s rabidly hyperactive New York agent decide to tag along. But what kind of trouble can these three oddest of odd balls possibly get into? Take a guess.

My Review

Jessie, the main character, is a lot of fun.  She writes racy, historic romance novels for a living and takes on the role of amateur sleuth whenever an opportunity presents itself.   Needless to say, she is quick to take on the challenge of finding out who killed the bartender at the resort where they are staying, especially when the local cops are eager to frame her boyfriend, Wilson, or his son for the crime.  I enjoyed the interaction and antics of  Tessie  (her mom) and Chris (Wilson’s son), and the overall family dynamics, and I loved Bee Bee, the parrot.  The plot was interesting enough, and the cast was likeable. Except for Louise, whose repeated “fantastical” exclamations became quite annoying.   That said, overall I enjoyed the book. It’s an entertaining light mystery – a good choice for cozy mystery lovers.

One more thing – you can definitely read these books out of order. I started in the middle of the series 🙂

Review: JUST THE PITS by Jinx Schwartz

Too many books on my Kindle that I haven’t read so I decided it’s time to try and catch up a bit. I downloaded Just the Pits from Amazon a really long time ago. The 5th book in the Hetta Coffey Series by Jinx Schwartz, it’s definitely not a new release but might suit bookworms who are looking for a good mystery series with a nautical theme.

51nakv1nkklDescription (from Amazon)

As a self-employed engineering consultant with a penchant for oddball—read: shady—projects, Hetta Coffey has a history of inviting trouble. But now that she’s been hired for a legitimate mining project in Mexico’s Baja, it looks like smooth sailing ahead…until she discovers that people and pesos are disappearing faster than you can say, “This job is the pits!” And Hetta Coffey as sleuth? Goodness knows she’s nosy enough, but her detective skills leave a lot to be desired. Luckily for her she gets help from her best friend, Jan, and a mysterious Velveeta thief.

My Review

Hetta Coffey is not your typical female sleuth. She’s a civil engineer who lives on a yacht and  investigates the goings on at a mine operation in Mexico. She is a little rough around the edges with a unique outlook on life and sometimes outrageous behavior.  She and Jan are true friends, and their banter was candid and amusing.  This dog lover particularly liked that Hetta stops to pick up a starving stray dog and makes him her own.

I found the pace a bit slow at first, however looking back on the book as a whole, it was worth sticking with it.  The pace in the second half of the book was much better as the intricate plot developed and suspense intensified.   A good read for laughs, suspense and the glimpse into a lifestyle nothing like my own. 

You can get your copy on Amazon.

Review: DOUBTFUL by Ann Warner

Sometimes we do judge (select) a book by its cover. Its lovely cover was what first drew my attention to Doubtful – a romantic suspense novel  by Ann Warner.

51oi7gmbndlSynopsis (from Amazon)

Doubtful Sound, New Zealand
For Dr. Van Peters, Doubtful is a retreat after a false accusation all but ends her scientific career. For journalist David Christianson, it is a place of respite after a personal tragedy is followed by an unwelcome notoriety. Neither is looking for love or even friendship. Both want only to make it through another day. But when violence comes to Doubtful, Van and David’s only chance of survival will be each other.

My Review

Doubtful is a well written story centering around David and Van, who take an instantaneous dislike to one another.  They are both nursing emotional wounds from the past, and are thrown together by circumstances beyond their control.  The story alternates between their perspectives, highlighting each character and deepening the reader’s understanding of them as individuals as the story progresses.  I was sorry to see that the mystery elements were not as well developed as the romantic ones, especially as regards resolution of the criminal aspects of the story. It was a good read that I expect fans of romantic suspense will enjoy.

BTW, New Zealand was already on my bucket list…   based on the author’s descriptions, I think it just moved up a few spots.

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

Review: BLACKBERRY BURIAL by Sharon Farrow

One of my most recent cozy mystery reads was Blackberry Burial, the second installment in the Berry Basket Mystery series by Sharon Farrow,  which was released earlier this month.

Note:  This book can be read as a standalone (I had not read the first book in the series).

Description

Blackberryburial

Between a booming art scene and elaborate Independence Day festivities, July in lakeshore Oriole Point, Michigan, is always a blast. Especially when an explosive murder case crashes the fun . . .

As owner of The Berry Basket, Marlee Jacob has learned a thing or two about surviving the summer tourist season in Oriole Point. So she gladly agrees to help run the annual road rally in honor of the local Blackberry Art School’s centenary celebration. While alumni arrive from around the country, Marlee hopes the expansive Sanderling farm will make an appropriate starting point for the race—despite rumors that the land is cursed . . .

But when Marlee surveys the property, she stumbles upon a long-dead body hidden in the bramble. It’s a horrifying mystery to everyone except her baker, who’s convinced the skeletal remains belong to a former student who had gone missing twenty years earlier. As the Fourth of July activities heat up, Marlee must rush to catch an elusive murderer—before the next ‘blackberry victim’ is ripe for the picking!

My Review

Marlee cares about the people who work for her; she shows a great deal of compassion toward Theo, her baker, who faces challenges in interaction with others in social situations.  His limitations make him susceptible to ridicule and suspicion.  I appreciated the way the author presented Theo’s vulnerabilities and how Marlee stood by him, determined to help the police solve the case.  For the most part, the plot moved along at a good pace, with a few red herrings, and a resolution that pulled things together nicely. 

Marlee loves berries and she clearly knows everything about them. For this non-berry crazy reader, I think some of the descriptions went into a bit more detail than necessary. I was more intrigued by the mystery. I especially enjoyed the antics of Marlee’s remarkable parrot, who was quick to pick up new vocabulary and spout phrases and songs at opportune (and inopportune) moments.

Lovers of cozy mysteries, and culinary cozies in particular, are likely to enjoy this light read.

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