Deception by Gaslight – Book Review

A Gilded Gotham Mystery by: Katie Belli
Published on: October 6, 2020

Originally I wondered if the gaslight in the title was a reference to the actual gas-light of that era, or was a story about being gaslighted. Either way, I knew it was a story that I would be intrigued by, not to mention it having a terrific cover.

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Her Final Words – Book Review

By: Brianna Labuskes
Published On: August 1, 2020

While only my second book by this author, it’s clear that the setting and mood are important characteristics to the stories she tells.

Her Final Words centers around a small town in Idaho called Knox Hollow. Within its borders is a church known for its strict doctrines and tight control over its members. While FBI Agent Lucy Thorne investigates the murder of Noah Dawson, this church and their beliefs are woven into the story. None moreso than their belief that there should be no medical intervention when someone is sick or hurt. The state’s Shield Law protects parents in these instances, but it is no less controversial. Throughout the story we learn how difficult it is for the small police department to coincide with this church.

One of the fascinating aspects of the book is how little we know of our main character, Agent Thorne. Often, this genre will provide a detailed character description along with a list of their flaws and demons. Instead, Agent Lucy Thorne enters the story with very little background given. As the story progresses we learn about who Lucy is not by her history, but by her actions and by how she interacts with Sheriff Hicks and Deputy Grant.

While Lucy’s narrative is the central POV, mixed in are chapter’s from the events leading up to when Eliza confesses to FBI. Initially, I feared I would get bored of seeing only one person’s flashback. So I was pleasantly surprised when the past events were told from multiple points of view. By doing so we are given an incomplete picture of what transpired that helps to keep us guessing until the pieces finally start to fit together at the end.

In general, Her Final Words comes across as a straight mystery/suspense story with no alternating story lines told. For me, this approach worked as it allowed me to focus only on the story at hand. Once started, I became engaged rather quickly and am glad I picked it as this month’s First Reads choice.

Rating: 4 stars

Description:

It seems like an open-and-shut case for FBI special agent Lucy Thorne when Eliza Cook walks into the field office. The teenage girl confesses to murdering a young boy. Disturbingly composed, she reveals chilling details only the killer could know. Beyond that Eliza doesn’t say another word, leaving a vital question met with dead silence: Why did she do it?

To find the answer, Lucy goes to the scene of the crime in the small Idaho town of Knox Hollow. But Lucy’s questions are only mounting. Especially when she’s drawn deeper into the life of the victim. Then a combing of the woods yields unsettling evidence that Eliza isn’t the only one in this close-knit rural community with secrets.

Getting to the truth is becoming Lucy’s obsession. And it’s a dangerous one. Because for the good folks of Knox Hollow, hiding that truth will take more than silence.

Follow Those Zebra's: Solving a Migration Mystery – Book Review

By: Sandra Markle
Published on: April 7, 2020
Genre: Children’s Nonfiction
No. of Pages: 40

I don’t read nonfiction near as often as I should. But in an effort to change that and learn a little bit more about the world around me, I decided to read Follow Those Zebras. Plus, there is a mystery to it which makes it feel a little like the mystery/thriller genre I enjoy reading.

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The Secret of the White Stone Gate – Book Review

Black Hollow Lane #2
By: Julia Nobel
Published on: March 3, 2020

In The Secret of White Stone Gate, loyalties and friendships are tested as the Order of the Black Hollow Lane blackmail, threaten, and do whatever else they can think up with the goal of convincing Emmy to give them what they want – her father.

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The Last Smile in Sunder City – Book Review

The Fetch Phillips Archives (1)
By: Luke Arnold
Published on: February 25, 2020

The Last Smile in Sunder City is a noir fantasy book following Fetch Phillips, a struggling PI detective, or a ‘Man for Hire’, as he prefers to be called.

Years prior to when this story begins, this world experienced an event called the “Coda” where the human army was envious of the power of magic and decided to change…everything. In their lust to capture magic for themselves they fundamentally changed magic for everyone. The world was now drained of magic. Some creatures were immediately no more, while some live a half-existence.

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The Last Passenger – Book Review

Charles Lenox Mystery Book .3
By: Charles Finch
Published on: February 18, 2020

The Last Passenger is a book from one of my favorite mystery series and always one I can count on to deliver a good story and one that leaves me immediately wanting to pick up the next in the series, even if it is a re-read. The Last Passenger was no exception.

The story opens in a scene filled with humor and wit – apparently London has decided Charles needs a wife. Through-out the story we get to watch Charles skillfully evade potential future wives as they are introduced to Charles over and over again. Marriage and love in general are one of the common themes in this novel. But, this book is set in a time where a woman’s economic and financial options are limited, which is also introduced into the story. Even so, if one is lucky enough they get to experience true love, which we get to see very clearly through Lady Jane and Lord Deere’s relationship.

Toward the beginning of the story Charles becomes involved with a murder case where the clues and lack of clues are difficult to interpret, not to mention no one has any idea of who the victim is, which takes quite a bit of sleuthing to figure out. Through the course of the investigation we learn there is a connection tied to the politics of the American slave trade and as the story progresses the reader is given a little insight around the differences between the U.S. and U.K. policies and support in regards to slavery and the slave trade.

How does one not fall in love with this series? Because this is a prequel to the actual series I knew already where the story would take the characters, but even so, my heart still broke with that ending. It was so incredibly well done and so emotional. Not overly dramatic, but skillfully done with a delicate, light touch leaving my heart raw and bare.

Highly recommended to anyone who loves a traditional detective mystery story that is set in England in the mid 1800’s.

Rating: 5 stars

Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press and Minotaur Books for the advanced reader copy and opportunity to provide an honest review.

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Hide Away – Book Review

Rachel Marin Thriller #1 by Jason Pinter
Published on: March 1, 2020

To be honest, this month I wasn’t 100% drawn to any of the Amazon First Reads options and almost didn’t select one, but ultimately liked the idea of a police procedural type of mystery and chose Hide Away.

My ultimate fear was that the story would drag or that I would feel obligated to finish a book that didn’t really interest me. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case. I found myself so entranced by it that I would mean to read only a chapter and then several chapters later look up to realize what I had done. At one time I was so engrossed in the book that I discovered that I had completely missed the time I had planned to go to lunch.

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